MS has even forgotten what made Basic productive
Very good point. I have never been a fan of VB (having used it only a few times helping people with course work). But early on I did have great respect for the operating model that emerged among VB developers and "component" developers.
VB.Net is a greater travesty than anything related to Java-like languages. VB.Net is nothing short of a surrender of an emerging ideal of software development. (The vehicles needed improvement, but not surrender.)
That original market today is unfulfilled and open for innovation, from what I can see (or can't).