I skipped vista as well, not so much because it was objectively bad, just because it was too resource heavy for what it did in the time period it released in, and because XP never failed to meet my needs during that time frame. I'm planning to... W8 out this iteration as well, because it doesn't offer anything I need and W7 seems hardy enough to go the distance.
They actually kind of did learn some lessons though, and given that they didn't exactly lose money on Vista, that's kind of impressive. I've seen windows 7 run smoother on a 512mb ram system than XP did. Instead of continuing to push the min hardware faster than the market wanted to move, they focused more effort on optimization.
W8 is MS's way of leveraging their desktop monopoly to aid reentry into the mobile market. Tiles on a desktop is a solution to a problem no user had. They exist to advertise MS mobile, which has floundered repeatedly despite once having no real competitors (after palm stalled/imploded/cobalted and before Apple/Google arrived), and acclimate users to tiles/metro so the barrier to entry is lower. It's hard to blame them for trying. Mobiles will be the primary computing market and desktops will be the niche. If MS fails to restart mobile, that would be a massive blow to the giant that has been effortlessly flicking away competition for nearly all of the consumer computer market's existence.
Office 365 and this EULA are part of their early efforts to figure out how to keep the margins they're accustomed to while dealing with the low prices mobile customers are accustomed to -- but there's a silver lining to that cloud for MS, these customers are also accustomed to subscription based cost spreading. I prefer high initial pricing that is predictable for flexible deployment. The market, however, has proven very willing to get screwed for a monthly fee and lots of restrictions (carriers and contracts and early termination fees).