Hey, interesting article, but I completely disagree! Firstly, if you actually look at the 2007 site it is actually quite status quo. If there wasn’t a ghastly and overcooked background, it would look even blander than today’s site, which I actually think is more brand orientated. The 2007 site has straight laced buttons, and even a standard browser submit button. In today’s site, there are subtle hints like angled headers, keeping brand identity, but not shoving it in your face.
Granted, they could have utilised their full brand colour spectrum a bit more however. Also, I don’t think they should break layout conventions too much – they need to appeal to a global audience, and get across a huge amount of content, and I think using subtle branding like they have is better for usability than being radical in the whole structure of the site.