The funny thing about Windows Vista is that the vast majority of launch reviews were really positive, just like the current ones for Windows 7, before it turned into an object of deep fear and intense loathing.
Technologizer excavated the reviews from every major publication at the time, and the early reactions are kind of amazing given how people felt about Vista just a few months after launch (the Walt Street Journal's Walt Mossberg called it "the best version of Windows that Microsoft has produced"). Only Forbes' Stephen Manes' ventured that Vista is "at best mildly annoying and at worst makes you want to rush to Redmond, Wash. and rip somebody's liver out".
Given the massive public beta for Windows 7 and all of the telemetry data Microsoft's been able to gather before launch (among a ton of other factors), I really doubt 7's gonna be Vista all over again, even if Steve Ballmer himself feels the need to leave Microsoft a little bit of room to manoeuvre. Still, Vista's a solid illustration of how different a product can be for a handful of isolated reviewers than it turns out to be for everybody else. [Technologizer]