Personally I believe Microsoft is floating the rumor to see the reaction, if it isn't that bad they could go with it. However, if the reaction is horible, then they can remove it and say they are the company that listen to their consumers. Publicity is always good, even if it is bad, at least people are talking about it. This is setting up for a win for Microsoft provided they keep internal people from unraveling it. Comments like that can undermine whatever publicity they receive.
I will not buy the new xbox as is, unless a game exclusive to it is released that I have to have, but that would be the same with always on DRM or without. Still think it is stupid. I play the Xbox now when I can't get online.