For every bad burn, there are probably many good burns, and some of those times, the problem is with the setup.
LiteOns suck only if you feed it junk, like the kind of crap you buy off of a shady Yahoo Shopping (:Z) merchant or the kind of stuff you find off of Price Watch (:Z). If you buy media from a reputable electronics store like Best Buy, you won't have problems.
For the average person who picks up a LiteOn (most likely in the form of a rebadge) and media from the local Best Buy and who doesn't have the faintest idea what a "firmware" is, he'll most likely end up very satisfied. It's the outer fringe of people--the ones who obsess over my-KProbe-scan-is-better-than-yours or those who buy junk like Sky or Princo from some cheap Price Watch store--who will find the drive to be lacking. Most of my friends who have DVD burners (some of them have LiteOns) think that I'm crazy and wasting my time in this forum. "If it works fine, then why do I care about KProbing? And why do I care about the media code? I've always bought Memorex or Imation or whatever was on sale at Best Buy and I've never had a problem." This is why LiteOn is successful--because its core customer base is happy. People in this forum are not its core customer base--we're the fringe that, quite frankly, is just a footnote on their balance sheet. Personally, I'm happy with my drive. I have always fed it good media because I don't want to deal with issues with the chemical dye stability (i.e., longevity--who cares if you get a good KProbe if dye loses stability quicker?), and all my burns work. So I'm happy. The fact that my KProbes turn out nicely is just a bonus. And the fact that I bought a 4x burner that is currently burning all my 4x media at 8x and all my 2.4x media at 6x is just another "bonus".
Oh, and when it comes to CD-burning, LiteOn still kicks everyone's asses. It's only in DVD-burning that they're not doing as well.