I know I came here for SEO advice, and I usually do respect other people's entitlement for their own opinions, but when something is outright incorrect, I can't just let it be.
I don't know about the update that you mention, Torka, but not only are EMD's still highly effective until today, they are ridiculously so. If you would search today for "Edge practice" (a marketing term) on google, you first get the chiropractor clinic hosted at "practiceedge.com.au", followed by a few variable websites, but more importantly you also get right there on Google's first page: Practice-edge.net, a parked page at Godaddy... No content, no backlinks, no articles, a parked page. When I am in Malaysia and search for "property investment", I get propertyinvestment.com.my, and it has zero backlinks, just ok content.
EMD will always... ALWAYS... be important. While SEO programming is computer related, actual searches will always be human-based and psychologically motivated. If EMD's are discounted, then someone searching for New York Times will no longer get their nytimes.com website on the first page, they may get a hundred blogs that are commenting heavily about the new york times stories. Someone checking out Mercedes-Benz will find it a failure not to get Mercedes-benz official website on the first page, and instead getting the second-hand listing websites or car blogs. If someone looks for a brand (like you prefer), how would you like it if you are driven to a hundred competitor websites that deliberately published a lot of articles about how much they are better than that said brand, because the search engine decided their content and backlinks are more relevent?
Search Engines have to deal with people's expectations and references, and while they can analyze content all they want, Search engines cannot decide what searchers actually mean when they type in keywords at the search bar and therefore will always give weight to the website title and domain name that exactly matches the searchers. If they don't, when the internet is already built in this way and the websites all take domains relevent to their subject, they will be bad search engines and people will look elsewhere.
Second, if you would allow me to comment: I don't really believe someone should be a fan of something or not. Keyword research shows a certain number of targeted leads are generated on a certain subject using keywords, and an EMD helps attract that traffic. If an SEO expert "doesn't like" a certain technique that works and produces results and doesn't apply it in their work, I would think that is not a good expert, because experts are there to produce results and be neutral.
So while Amazon.com chooses to invest hundreds of millions into its branding, other small businesses do not. We are mostly USING the internet to generate leads, not identifying ourselves by it. People look for "scuba diving in the red sea" and not my unknown branded center called "Dahab diving center", so I should not be stupid and lose out on solid leads. I can always establish a seperate website with my brand name and fill it with whatever content, but that will always be company centric address. We are currently talking on a forum under the domain "highrankings.com", and if I was selling books online, no I wouldn't choose www.onlinebookstore.com, because people don't search for that much, but sure enough I will grab childrenbooks.com to promote my children book collection. Unless I get spammy or do something remarkably stupid to get slapped out of there, that EMD of childrenbooks.com has more than 8000 exact matches per month and therefore will provide 8000 possible leads every month seeing me on the first page regardless of content and backlinks.