In mashup apps you can assign a fixed height to a bar chart which dictates how many bars a user will see before having to scroll. In general, people like to see Top / Bottom lists of categories. What are the Top 10 selling products? What are the 5 worst performing regions? A horizontal bar chart with a fixed height is a useful way to give users a quick Top 10 list (or whatever number you want). Once an app has a quick list on some topic, users may not even feel the need to scroll but they always have the ability to do so.
Not enough flair
As for criticism, probably the biggest one for bar charts is that they don’t have a big “wow” factor. Because they are so ubiquitous, bar charts are often overlooked. Misguided attempts to make bar charts more exciting lead to things such as 3D bar charts which are harder to read and less effective than standard ones.
If you are looking to add some excitement to your app: consider adding flair in other ways. Instead of tricking out your bar charts you could instead have one really cool chart on the page that is then supported by quieter, but very useful, ordinary charts. For our team, those humble supporting charts doing most of the heavy lifting tend to be, you guessed it...bar charts.