Windows 7: Is its success really a surprise?

I've been messing with Windows 7 since the beta, and my wife has the Ultimate edition installed on her laptop (having replaced Vista, for the most part).

Most people agree: Windows 7 is good. But really, when faced with the following choices, how could Windows 7 NOT succeed?
  • Windows XP, a decade-old platform that's been patched to hell
  • Vista, a chubby three-year-old toddler replete with nagging, resource-hogging character flaws
  • Windows 7, the shiny hotness built after pay-to-participate beta testers shook out Vista's worst features and bugs over the course of 3 years
(this post is loosely based on an IM conversation with another friend of mine in the financial IT sector)

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