Last month, when I heard Damian Conway talk about stuff coming up in Perl 6
, there was much crabbiness from the crowd (or at least one member of the crowd
as he discussed the dot operator, but apparently Larry's reasons are pretty much what you said:
Perhaps they feel that their languages won't compete well with other languages that use dots.
Perhaps they want to extend the reach of their languages into the ranks of the VB macro/spreadsheet community.
Larry wants Perl to carry forward, and apparently feels that the arrow is some sort of barrier to entry, and that people are afraid of Perl because of the "nonstandard" way of calling methods. The Visual Basic thing is seen as a huge potential "market" for Perl.
Throw down the gun and tiara and come out of the float!