Here's an idea for Microsoft and other companies to streamline and centralize product updates, the Common Update Security System (CUSS). As a framework of sorts, it would check for 3rd party product updates in a single, controlled environment. Here's how it might work:
Using Adobe Reader as an example, when it's installed, it will create a registry key under CUSS with a GUID for that product. When CUSS runs, it will look for those keys, and pull the patch info from The Microsoft Update server. After scanning, it will download necessary patches from Adobe's server instead of Microsoft. The patch is then applied, and life is good. No more chasing down patches!