I believe programmers at Microsoft learned their lesson Vista and have come to understand why it was viewed the way it was by consumers. It is clear they have taken a new direction, especially with Windows 8 and have not went back to the design flaws that were evident in Vista.
Yes, they do know what made the Vista program worse than the other programs. These problems have all been addressed and fixed now in the new versions of windows that they have been pumping out in the last few years, and they have been putting out some great programs and features.
They probably understood once it was rolled out and most people realized how bad it was. If they had not understood then they would have stuck by the software even through all of the hate or would have continued trying to fix it. Instead, they wrote it off as a lost cause and replaced it with a better system.
As I recall, Windows Vista didn't last long on the market. The time between Windows XP and Windows 7 went by so quickly, I think the programmers realized users hated Vista from the get-go. Windows 7 and subsequently Windows 8 are much better operating systems than Vista, workers at Microsoft clearly knew what went wrong after the roll out.
I do believe that the programmers at Microsoft really understand why Vista was so bad. I think that is why they have come so far since then and have moved on to bigger better programs that people really love and enjoy. They continue to come out with new soft wares that work great.