Re: Microsoft's failure is Canonical's failure.
Actually I find this view of "smart users don't want Unity / Gnome3 / whatever" to be held by people who think they are smart because they don't want Unity / Gnome3 / whatever.
Neither Unity nor (as I understand it) Gnome3 are that great if you want to spend all your time tweaking the micro behaviour of your window manager; getting your window translucency just so; making sure that your animations of windows opening and closing exactly fit whatever obsessive criteria you have set; and that you have programmed in and memorised 30 different key combinations that do such pointless things as minimising all windows whose name matches the regular expression "/.*o.*c.*d/".
On the other hand they are great if you actually have difficult and demanding work to do that actually requires you to spend minimal time actually farting around with your window manager, but getting on with doing some insanely difficult signal processing algorithm, stats, simulation problem or something.
That is they are excellent as immediately useful and productive systems for smart people, who don't want to spend all day fiddling with the settings.
Having said that, I don't like the design choices in Unity that require click to follow focus (I prefer focus follows mouse), but for the rest of it I prefer having a sensible UI that makes tweaking for usability obsolete.
If you don't like these UIs or agree with their choices, then fine, but don't call a whole load of smart people stupid for preferring to use a system that does not require them to spend hours of potentially useful time fiddling with settings and customisations that hold no interest to them just in order to be able to start working...