How would you judge his ability as a writer? And who would you rate higher, if a comparison would be easier. (not wanting any confrontation here, just genuinely interested! Don't often get any literary conversations.)
Personally, I've enjoyed several of his books, mostly the older ones, The Shining, The Stand and It spring to mind.
I've found that King can be pretty decent at times. His own style, though, which he doesn't always employ, just turns out pretty ugly most of the time. A good example is Different Seasons. The writing in Apt Pupil is downright atrocious compared with the other 3 stories in the collection (the last of which is just mimicking another author, however--Peter Straub). I keep reading King, for some reason...I kinda like his mythology, although it's mostly just a copy of earlier horror writers, like Lovecraft. A srs love/hate relationship going on. I just read Christine and was just baffled with how...stupid it was. And predictable. (Another thing I don't like from King: his characters. Half of them are the exact same [although many commend him for extremely realistic characters...I don't ever see it]. And I think we can all agree his writing method of never thinking ahead, but writing as it comes to him, leads to many a terrible ending.
Better writers? You'll be annoyed--I'm a big reader, and I consciously go for the more pretentious, pomo stuff 90% of the time.
Paul Auster, Donald Barthelme, John Barth, Richard Brautigan, William Burroughs, Albert Camus, Don DeLillo, James Dickey, Dave Eggers, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Farina, Ian Fleming (very well-written pulp), Joseph Heller (at least with Catch-22...everything else he's touched...wheewwww, not so hot), Hemingway, John Irving, Joyce, Kafka, Kerouac, Kesey, Cormac McCarthy, Nabokov, Flann O'Brien, Breece D'J Pancake, Thomas Pynchon (best writer EVARRR), Steinbeck, Neal Stephenson, Tolkien, David Foster Wallace, Robert Anton Wilson...a bunch of my favorites who are much stronger writers than old Steve.