"And why are spreadsheets (especially with lots of markup that can be ignored all to easily) used in this way?
MS touted them as the be-all and end-all of "data presentation". That was their fault."
Wrong a wrong oh. The spreadsheet as we know it was invented by a chap called Dan Bricklin, a programmer who decided to do an MBA, during which he saw a professor doing a gert big dirty calculation (production planning, IIRC) across multiple blackboards, each containing rows of cells, the value of which depended on other values in other cells. Bricklin set out to computerise the whole process and set up a company called Software Arts with another bod, whose name eludes me for the moment (GIYF) and the result was Visicalc, the first computer spreadsheet, and the killer app for the Apple II which elevated it above the status of an expensive toy and placed it onto the desks of corporate 'merka. this would be around 1978/9 or so.
Later, along came Mitch Kapor, set up Lotus, and got another chap (whose name again eludes me, which is shocking really) to knock up Lotus 123, the killer app for the nascent IBM PC. (~1982 ?)
MS had a complete dog of a Visicalc rip off called Multiplan running on CP/M, but it didn't see the light of day on an MS platform (as Excel) until about 1987, IIRC, and for a long time they were playing catch up to 123, which was the tool of choice for professional spreadsheet users such as accountants and the like.
So it's a bit bleedin' rich to blame MS for popularising spreadsheets. Because they didn't, m'kay ?