It was almost weird to be able to take a PC out of the box and be able to immediately start using it.
Microsoft apparently worked pretty closely with Vizio on this, which suggests that Microsoft knows that the experience on most Windows PCs sucks.
For better or worse, the "consumer" user of Windows -- a person at home, without an IT support desk, who purchased his computer himself at a store -- captured a lot of attention inside Microsoft for this release.
I'm not at all surprised to see more Apple-like behavior from them, e.g. (1) restricting what Windows RT can run to the software available in the windows app store, (2) completely breaking app compatibility for older (WinForms) apps on WinRT, (3) getting way more draconian about hardware requirements for the Phone (specification of button counts/sizes, etc.), (4) having a "Signature" edition of windows.
MS has been fighting this battle for decades -- most blue screens were caused by crappy hardware drivers; they knew this but couldn't fix the problem without hugely breaking compatibility.