I have to admit, I do get a kick out of some of the stuff that comes out of WotC - if only for entertainment value.
Mearls is quoted here in a 5E interview as saying the following:
The D&D Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set in the red box has also been a real success for us. It highlights the importance of having a good intro product—something that is definitely on our radar as we plan for the future.
This was always the strangest part of 4E to me. Why did they wait 3/4 of the way through the edition to create a starter set? Seems to me, if I were to design an RPG, the starter set would be the first thing I'd do - as that set would be the gateway drug for future gamers and would drive sales throughout the length of the new edition. Was this WotC just doing everything ass backwards or was there a specific reason for that? Does anyone know? I'm curious why it happened that way. Seems like they learned from the (major) oversight.