While I love the look of stock android, i think the average person on the street doesn't. I showed my rooted desire hd with stock jellybean on it to a couple of my mates with the same phone but branded, and they hated it. Hated how basic it looked etc. I'm aware there's sense rom's but that's not the point. I think people actually like these shitty looking skins manurfacturers put over android. While I love stock android, i think we're in the minority.
SD cards on the other hand, need them. Like the op said, cloud is so slow when you wanna play music or whatever. Putting a document on the cloud is okay, but not as a substitution for storage.