IMO, modifications should only have to be done on a personal basis. If it's necessary to fix a problem that the consensus has with a product, then the company should reassess the issue. For example, I personally can't stand the discomfort of Grado headphones at all, but that doesn't matter to most people who use them. I don't think I've ever seen a positive comment for the Q701 headband, however. Even the people who say that they can break it in complain at first.
Not that I expect AKG to remedy this issue. If they've gone this long, they'll probably continue making them like that.
They have remedied the issue... on all the new models in the K7xx series that have come out since. If you want to pay an extra few hundred bucks for a different headband and pads, feel free. I'll take the significantly cheaper one with nearly the same sound and just mod it (or live with it).