I don't think we [the hobbyist market] are ANY consideration at all.
I dunno. There's this thing called "mindshare." One can argue that Microchip owes some of their success to being hobbyist friendly back in the mid-1980s. I mean, there they were; a tiny little company with a rather ugly microcontroller architecture. But they had the first OTP microcontrollers. And the first small UV-erasable microcontrollers. And the first flash-based microcontrollers. And inexpensive development tools and environments. And parallax and digikey selling their parts in small quantities. And a generous sample program. And articles in hobby magazines. All things that are friendly to the hobbyist market. And they hit #2 in microcontroller sales a couple decades later (and parallax is bigger, and digikey is HUGE, and Atmel tried to steal their customers away...)
Now, I don't know that they specifically intended to support hobbyists. Probably not. But there doesn't seem to be THAT much difference between a hobbyist and a small business, or for that matter compared to an engineer/scientist "playing" in a lab at a big company with the mere possibility of a new product. I think I credit microchip with having the VISION to see microcontrollers succeeding in small markets (which happens to include hobbyists), while everyone else was still thinking about mask-rom parts sold in 100k min quantity. Atmel got the vision too, and used some of the same techniques, and also got well-adopted by the hobbyist community.
(And you know what? OTHER companies are getting on-board too. Motorola/Freescale chips used to be next to impossible to get, but not any more. TI put one of their 2nd-generation MSP430 chips in a DIP package, after years of fine pitch SMT only. Even Renesas (who do the former Hitachi and Mitsubishi micros, and are NUMBER 1 in the market, and which NEVER used to be hobbyist-friendly at all) is out there with free C compilers, IDEs, and generous terms on cheap/free development hardware... Cool. It's a GOOD time to be interested in microcontrollers!)