Alright, fair enough.
I was making a qualitative statement a well. As in, as a Mac user, I wouldn't even take it for free. But from a purely dollars-and-cents perspective, I'd agree, it's a fair price for an operating system.
Although Apple's releases are all full operating systems. Panther+Tiger+Leopard does not equal one Windows release.
XP was old and grey long before Vista was released. And Vista wasn't much of an achievement.
Windows XP October 2001 - It was a functional OS (then again, they all are.) But it was a dog. Absolutely horrible, spaghetti-code. Required boatloads of 3rd party apps to keep from grinding to a halt and falling over. And it looked like a dog's breakfast, and performed the same way. Saying it was MS' finest achievement really isn't saying much. It played games real good, tho!
(Visited an Apple Store in April '06, and walked out of there astonished that I'd actually been using XP for so long when something like Tiger existed.)
Vista January 2007 - Not much needs to be said here. No point in flogging a dead horse. Everyone would rather forget about this one.
Windows 7 October 2009 - Not out yet. Average Joe will render the verdict after the first 6 months of use.
Windows users have been getting the shaft since 2001.