I love how people love to say that Vista flopped, even though it broke XP's sale speed record.
I haven't actually got the official statistics to hand -- but I think the number of actual purchased Retail versions of VISTA don't exceed XP -- could be wrong but my surmise is that from very early in Vista's development cycle OEM's were more or less forced to install VISTA on their machines so p[eople had it without any choice. If you count the number of "Licensed" versions then you could be right but a huge number of these were OEM's.
The other HUGE GRIPE is that very early on you didn't get an install disk so apart from VISTA often being installed on totally inadequate hardware there was very little you could do in Optimising the OS.
If you had to re-install / repair it all you often had was a "Hidden Partition" and a boot CD which re-installed the system to as it was when you bought it. If you've ever purchased a computer recently you know how much "Crap and Adware" is usually installed on it to start with.
Now often this partition was deleted (users thought --he I've got another 30GB or so of free disk space -- so their nice recovery disk wouldn't work -- your great machine is just now a hunk of metal. You then had to "re-purchase" a recovery CD which didn't require a hidden partition at an extra cost sometimes as much as 45 USD -- this at least should have been initially given with the system but usually wasn't. Of course this would re-install all the crapware again.
So the initial user experience was pretty horrible especially as it was relatively easy to tinker around with XP to get really fast systems.
So VISTA was given a bad reputation from the start. -- Why on earth didn't the OEM's just give a proper install disk with the machine -- the OEM disk can be re-installed as many times as you like on the same machine and it wouldn't cost the OEM any more as they have to pay for the license anyway.
Nowadays with even humble laptops having 4GB (RAM or more) and and dual processors Vista (especially now with SP1 and even SP2) isn't so horrible but in marketing if a brand gets tainted with a bad reputation even JC himself couldn;t resucitate it.
W7 is a totally different animal -- will even run on small netbooks with tiny Atom processor quite well.
BTW anybody buying a new computer (in store rather than via the Net) - ALWAYS Haggle with the saleman to throw in a RETAIL copy of the OS with the machine -- most stores will throw this in to make a sale -- their retail OS'es are quite heavily discounted anyway so it actually doesn't cost them much. If they say no go to another store. -- Make the "Credit Crunch" work FOR you rather than Against you. Stores are DESPERATE to make sales at the moment.