It's funny, for the longest time (like in the '90s) I was WordPerfect fan and similarly disliked MS Word for being too cumbersome, but over time (and this was probably near a decade ago at this point) not only was I increasingly forced to use Word at school and work, but Word got better. I like the idea of using something else, something freeware or open source or whatever, and I've tried other stuff, including a quite serious look at OpenOffice (which is nice, and I actually use it on my phone for pdfs and document editing, but I didn't see any particular 'advantages' beyond liking the idea of it). Mostly, out of convenience, google docs is probably my main go-to alternative, and I've written notes, short talks, and even collaborated on the first draft of a paper with a co-author using it. But formatting is tricky and seems to assume actual pages are irrelevant.
To be honest, while I'm still not a fan of the newest version (perhaps due to a lack of familiarity as much as anything), I really do like Word 2003 - that doesn't mean I love it, but really it does everything I need: I know my way around it, I can easily format, work with images, graphs and charts, edit and track changes, use special characters, spell check in French, etc. etc.... and most importantly I know that I (or anyone else) can open what I've written almost anywhere without having to reformat it, which is priceless if you're as anal about formatting as I am.
Of course, this is speaking more from the perspective of heavy academic writing - for taking notes, as I said, I use google docs, as well as a handful of "note pad" style apps on by my desktop and hand-held devices. And honestly I still do by far my best brainstorming, editing, and short-length writing with pen and paper. Now I'll freely admit that much of my preferences have to do with simply being more accustomed to one thing than another, but from the perspective of writing "for others" on an almost daily basis, for now nothing I've tried has beat Word 2003, much as I might like to find a less "evil" alternative :)