I cannot agree in saying that I hate NI, but I do understand your sentiment when it comes to the price of Komplete and many other products included. Kontakt 5 is very expensive; it's an excellent sampler, however.
Sample library makers have an easy time making their libraries exclusive to Kontakt and it requires minimal development and lower cost. Sure, it's passed on to the consumer, but I think it's a well-worth investment to get it. They also have the Kontakt Free Player, but I haven't tried using it in ages. I think I remember getting frustrated that it would time out after fifteen minutes.
Some plugin developers, like GetGood Drums
, for example, obtain a Kontakt Player license from Kontakt allowing end users of the product to use just the free version of Kontakt.