Windows ME was the last gasp of the Windows 9x model. It came out seven months after Windows 2000, but failed miserably while Windows 2000 provided a nice upgrade from Windows 98, and a quick stepping stone to Windows XP, Microsoft's most popular and well received OS ever.
Or is Vista really Windows 2000? Win2k came out a year and a half before Windows XP and bridged the gap between 9x and XP, reworking the kernel and linking tightly to Active Directory, enabling Microsoft to kick the last chance of a Novell NetWare revival out the door.
Windows 2000 could be called a stopgap business operating system easing the market toward Windows XP. If so, I have to give credit to Microsoft. I still use Windows 2000 on an old laptop I use for presentations because there's only 256MB of RAM in that small, portable, Pentium III laptop. With Windows 2000, it works fine and does all I need.
So is Microsoft way clever and using Windows Vista like Windows 2000, to bridge to something much better? Or is Vista a giant mistake like Windows ME?
Time, and Microsoft's approach to Windows 7, will tell.