You have stated very well the real and often unstated issue that Vista faced, nobody understood it!
I remember waiting in the customer service line of a big computer shop a few months back, and there was this lady at the counter screaming about getting a refund for her new HP laptop, why? Because she didn't understand this "Vista" thing? She wanted "Windows" and "Office" and nothing else.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that most people don't know or care a bit about operating systems and interfaces, they likely believe that frankly if they had to go through how many boring hours of Windows and Office training back in the day, who's going to be paying them to do it all again!?
Personally I think any steps towards a more intuitive and usable OS (in particular the IU) is a good thing, so go Microsoft, go Apple, keep up the good work. But change like this is not going to sell new computers by itself. Fortunately however for Microsoft and Apple, the previous versions of Vista and OSX have now been out for long enough that a good number (20% according to Vista stats) of people have been exposed to it, this can only help ease that learning curve. So one could argue that on that point alone Windows7 will have a better time that Vista ever could have!