I had no indication, beyond what was available or possible, our engineers were not "dumbing down" the products. On the contrary, they were always looking for edges in performance. The worst was soon after one of our releases, one of our competitors did something better and cheaper--hard to sell a products under that situation.
I mostly agree about the dumbing down part. Anyway, that would be a purely internal decision within a given company and the focus would be line up mgt.
My point is more about high level specs, like the availability of video, the focus on 1080p, the pace of resolution increase,...
Some of that might be gone following the release of the D800. Samsung is coming pretty strong, the whole of Japan consumer industry is very sensitive about the way Korean manufacturers have taken ownership of the TV market in a few years and it could be that some guys in Nikon decided that it was time to break away from a Japan centric world and move forward.