Must admit on the LW is to slow front, im not so sure. In some areas maybe but the underlying architecture is probably not any older than Max, AD has been working on excalibur for quite a few years to update Max but dont know how far they have got. Last time i looked a couple of years ago it was already 4 years in the making. Any Max users want to chip in.
I use LW but also have access to Max and i dont see that Max or indeed Maya for that matter is faster in many areas.
What tools are you comparing speedwise? Maya rigs and deformations are so much faster, especially when we are talking fps when the play button is pressed.