Excellent article. I've wondered about this as I used to be pretty set on "boutique" bikes but I'm not sure I see the point much anymore. I don't know if that is just that my personal preferences have evolved or that that the bikes themselves have evolved or some of both.
I have a hard time buying the argument that a given boutique bike is objectively better than big brand bikes like the new Stumpy or Slash. Reference last week's review on the Knolly Warden - good bike, had some quirks, did some things really well, maybe not so great at other things and certainly not the be all end all for an aggressive trail bike.
not totally convinced on the adjustability thing - I know I'd never fuss with it after setting it up how I liked, but not sure how representative of the overall market that might be.