Yes I agree, it is somewhat Microsoft "policy" to push their product to everyone. I remember when they tried to push everyone "forcefully" to use XP professional instead of Windows 2000 professional.
They did the same with Windows NT to Windows 2000 Server, and then later to Windows 2003.
I think they know world is under their control so they decide what they want the world to use. I am sure Dell didn't have any choices given by Microsoft to ship XP at that time but later they realise how flop was Vista and then they started to give incentives to customers who wishes to downgrade from Vista to XP.
Now you can easily find businesses selling two copies, Vista along with XP if you so wish to downgrade. I ask people, there must be a reason why Microsoft started to ship XP back again into a market (perhaps Vista was not so good after all?).
This same senario happend when Microsoft tried to brought Windows ME (Mellenium), which was a huge flop after Windows 98. Yet they tried to push everyone to move to ME.
Anyhow, I am glad that your pc is sorted, at the end of the day it all depends what an invidual wants for their money
If you have any further questions do let us know