One thing not mentioned in Tables is splitting and merging cells. Writer can do at least as much of this as HTML can, and is much more capable than MS-Word when it comes to complicated tables.
For example, repeated splitting and mergings across generations get disconnected by MS-Word, but in Writer it's dead easy, very natural, to get them all synchronised again. I have a newsletter with just such a table in it which is about 25 generations old in the best load-last, save-as-new, edit tradition and routinely gets split and merged. No problems. If I'd been using MS-Word, I would have deleted the whole table in frustration and rebuilt it at least half a dozen times by now, and the document would be steadily growing. Kind of like a memory leak on disk.
BTW, Craig is an insightful critic. His views have been used to improve many software projects. Anyone in the OOo project, please note.