The only potential problem I have with the cartel shop is if real content for the game becomes an afterthought, and the legacy system, even with more additions, and current 1-50 game as-is will basically be the real meat and potatoes of what SWTOR is. If they are going for a model of revolving door players, who eventually get bored at endgame and leave, then that will be unfortunate. On the other hand, if this funds more planets and expanded class stories, great.
I'm shocked people still believe this. We've been told about a major content expansion, new PVP warzone, and a revamped Ilum hitting within the next 3 months or so. Just choosing to ignore this because they are supplementing their revenue with the cartel shop seems like a knee jerk reaction.
The reason it's taking significant resources right now is because they had to build the functionality of the cartel shop from the ground up. Now that the frame work is in place adding items is simple. A re-textured speeder, a re-coloring of an existing armor model, that doesn't take much to implement going forward. Anything new created for the store is paid for many times over by the revenue it brings in.
The dev team is active and will remain so as long as they hit their revenue goals. Creating new content to sustain the business is a given.
The deeper fear for you should be this. If this game can't survive with the 2nd largest subscriber base prior to F2P then the whole industry is in trouble. It's been a trend for a while now. Open an MMO, steal players from other games, bleed them out short term, and scatter the MMO players over a larger number of games reducing revenue for any specific one.
We are already saw what happened at Turbine when they lost about half lost their players when SWTOR opened, they haven't recovered from it and the downsizing is happening now. If SWTOR dies, the future of the MMO industry does too because funding for these type of games will dry up. Elder Scrolls will be the last big AAA game before Titan. If they both fail... get used to indie releases in the MMO space.