I started with Max too. Actually with 3D studio 3.0 and worked my way to Blender…
I turned my back on Max for 2 reasons:
my company develops in Blender
once my Max licence expired i wanted to buy a new one. Well i am from europe. Max was then 3900USD in the states and 4600 Euro in Europe, which is about. 6850USD. I wanted to get the US version, first i dont like non english software, second the price. after mailing with autodesk HQ, Swizz, Germany and GB the conclusion was:
Its illegal to own a max licence from another country than the one you use and work with MAX in.
There is no plausible explaination why the european version costs almost twice as much as in the states. (possible a extreme-swimming athlet crosses the atlantic with 1 copy each month)
There was no accomodation from autodesks side, just hard-bitten mail-center-agent, generated generic email contact.
Well, frack Autodesk. All Hails Blender Foundation.
And now i buy all the Stuff in Blendershop, All the books and donate here and there now and then, havent even paid a 10th … well maybe… of 3d Studios costs and got a nice proggy doing all my stuff… now and then i miss a feature or some functionality, but hey… Blender is growing and growing and growing… unless Max, which gets a new splashscreen and a new colorscheme on every version every half year for 1000USD upgrade costs.
Still, Ben´s right every proggy has its advantages and disatvantages, max got its strenghts, then again blender lacks some features… well i`ve chosen the lesser evil ;D