So why is Windows 7 so much better received than Vista? My guess is simply that it is backwards compatible with Vista, and the pain of the transition was already taken out on Vista. If Windows 7 came first I think it would have had the same problems.
(BTW, what is the 7 in Windows 7? 7 from what? If Windows 95 was 4, then 98 was 5, ME 6 and XP 7. If NT was 4.0, then 2000 was 5, XP 6 and Vista 7. Why 7? Wikipedia says that 2000 was 5 and XP was 5.1, so Vista was only 6, but then Windows 7 is really only 6.1. I remember when Microsoft justified its moving away from version numbers with Windows 95 by saying everyone was confused by them.)