Karl, that is ABSOLUTELY not a valid response to this. The valid response would be 'Don't worry guys, this new layout won't be shoved down your throat and you won't be forced to use it. It's just optional.'
THAT would make this okay. I honestly wouldn't mind this downgrade if I didn't already know google's abhorrent habit of not listening to it's users and forcing horrible downgrades on us. KEEP THIS OPTIONAL FOR GOOD!