> "Vista", just like "Edsel", "Pinto" and "Corvair", has forever been associated with epic fail and/or total disregard for the purchasers.
The Pinto was such an improvement in terms of fitness for purpose compared to the Edsel, the Corvair, and Vista, I'd like prefer ignore it here, except to note it's tendency to go "FOOM" was a truly Bad Thing. But the Corvair and the Edsel have a lot more in common with Vista than does the Pinto.
Ford's Edsel marketers completely misread their target market (in fact the entire state of the US automobile market had morphed into by 1958), by deciding what the customer base really wanted was a "middle managers" car, for existing Ford owners to "step up" to, in order to let their neighbours know that they had "arrived". To Ford, this meant a restyled Ford with more chrome, bigger tail fins, and more gee-whiz bell's and whistles. But what the middle class wanted to by in 1958-60 was smaller second cars, primarily for commuter duty. So what they in bought instead of Edsels in '58 and '59 was VW's and Rambler Americans. That the US economy tipped into a recession in late 1957 didn't help Edsel either.
The Corvair is even more similar to Vista in that GM managed to both misread the target market the car would appeal to, and mess up the engineering by putting a swing-axle under the back end of the '61-'64 models. Like M$, GM fixed the engineering issue after the product had been out for several years, eventually putting a proper fully independent rear suspension under the car for the '65 an later model years, but by then the damage to the model's image was done. The Corvair was killed due to slow sales at the end of the '67 model year.
GM's marketing mistake was in trying to build an "economy car" by building a 1.5x scale-up of the VW beetle. To make it appealing to the perceived early 1960's market, they made it larger, lower, wider, and twice as powerful as the Beetle, yet this was still a "small" car by US standards of the time. GM hoped to attract the middle class types of the time who were buying VW Beetles as second cars. Like Vista, the Corvair's end users had very different ideas about what the product should be good for - ideas it's manufacturer never thought of. What GM got into by accident was a segment of the market they didn't even know existed - people who looked at the Corvair and saw it as a poor man's 2+2 version of a Porsche 356. These were the folks who took it out on the twisty back roads and managed to overload the swing axle with side loading, causing the outside rear wheel to tuck under. This resulted in sudden massive oversteer, which tended to send the car off the road tail first.
In Vista's case, M$ also completely misread what it's end users wanted. The user base expected an OS with a simpler and easier to use UI, better performance on the user's existing hardware, a better security model, and stability of a level equal or better than the current XP SP2.
However, M$ thought the user base wanted more chrome, more bells and whistles, better security, and a raft of M$ requirements the users's couldn't have cared less about (or flat out didn't want), such as Silverlight, DRM, and anti-piracy nannies. As near as I can tell, M$ then botched the engineering on the Security and DRM, and overall managed to turn Vista into a memory hog, requiring at minimum twice the memory of an XP installation. (XP will run in 512mb, Vista home needs 1gb.)
So after three years, Windows 7 is now the equivalent of a '65 Corvair. Better than the original, but that still doesn't say very much for it. The one stock '65 'Vair I once drove was a stone, due to a truly evil two-speed automatic transaxle, and it never made any heat in the winter due to the air cooled engine. I expect that like the Covair, Vista has some design "features" which can never be fixed.
Historical footnote. GM repeated the exact same mistakes it made with the Corvair. with the Pontiac Fiero during the 1980s, with very much the same result. M$ has already bettered that record by almost 1.5 decades with ME and Vista.