iTunes for Windows - Why all the hate?

Let me start off by saying: I'm no Apple fanboy by any means. I have a custom built Windows 8 machine (love W8), have an Xperia Z Ultra, and am a big fan of most of Google Services (getting to that in a bit).

However, when it comes to my media management, I can't find anything to replace iTunes. WinAmp and MediaMonkey, the top two competitors it seems, both look like garbage in comparison. Same with library management - iTunes makes it super easy. My only qualms with are:

  • No FLAC support.
  • The bloatware it installs (Bonjour, iTunes Helper Service, Apple Software Update, etc.)
  • Uses a bit more memory than I'd like.
  • Doesn't natively sync my Z Ultra (which is to be expected).
I've heard the complaints that it's bloated and slow, but I haven't seen either of those occurring. It installs a couple helper services that I mentioned earlier, but I just disable those. I never see slowness - it works just as fast as any of my other applications (And, FWIW, my entire media library is on a server on my network rather than being stored locally).

I've also tried to use Google Music. My entire library is up there, and I tried using it for a while. While it's pretty convenient, library syncing can be iffy at times, the Google Music app on Android needs a lot of work (I typically use PowerAmp), I can't use my equalizer when listening to it through Chrome, and it compresses my music even further.

So - why do people avoid iTunes like the plague? And can anybody suggest a media player that has equivalent or better library management, pretty/polished UI, and a user-friendly and intuitive interface?