What Microsoft Access would need to do to gain respect with programmers.
1. Support for the .NET runtime, not just VB6. I believe this has started.
2. Use one of the standard Windows GUI toolkits - Windows Forms, WPF, Silverlight or the new Windows 8 one. This would make Access interfaces portable outside Access itself, so that solutions outgrowing Access could be more easily migrated to a more suitable platform.
3. Multi-user support. There are few things more frustrating as a developer than being handed an Access database that now needs to be used by many people at once and realising that this means a ground-up rewrite, just because Access handles only one user at a time, and the code and user interfaces are all trapped in Access-specific formats that don't convert out.
Basically, the most important thing Access can do to gain respect with professional programmers is to make it much easier to do away with Access. The difficulty doesn't make a lot of sense in the first place, since Microsoft has a lot of other platforms to migrate to, and those tools could be easily integrated to Access. Well, maybe not "easily", but they could be integrated.
Mokalus of Borg
PS - I guess, when Access first appeared, there weren't other platforms to integrate.
PPS - But now there are, it needs to happen.