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Windows Copies the Mac? Shhh, That’s Our Little Secret!

PC dressed as Mac[UPDATE: Microsoft’s Windows blogger Brandon LeBlanc has disowned Aldous’s comments.]

This is amusing: Simon Aldous, a “Microsoft partner group manager” in the UK, gave an interview to British tech site PCR in which he says that Microsoft wanted to give Windows 7 a “Mac look and feel”:

One of the things that people say an awful lot about the Apple Mac is that the OS is fantastic, that it’s very graphical and easy to use. What we’ve tried to do with Windows 7 – whether it’s traditional format or in a touch format – is create a Mac look and feel in terms of graphics. We’ve significantly improved the graphical user interface, but it’s built on that very stable core Vista technology, which is far more stable than the current Mac platform, for instance.

I’m guessing that Aldous is far enough removed from Redmond that he forgot you aren’t supposed to say things like that. (I mean, nobody involved with New Coke cheerfully told us that the goal with it was to make Coke taste more like Pepsi.) But the funny thing is, the only part of Windows 7 that strikes me as newly Mac-like is the Taskbar, whose bigger, unlabeled icons do indeed look more like OS X’s Dock.

On a meta-level, every version of Windows has cribbed from the Mac, and the versions released in this decade (Windows XP, Vista, and 7) all draw overall inspiration from the polished look of Apple OS X. But Windows 7 has its own perfectly pleasant aesthetic.  I ultimately prefer Snow Leopard’s–it’s more subdued and consistent–but if you told me you liked Windows 7’s flashier feel, I wouldn’t argue the point.

Oh, and a side topic: As a heavy user of both Vista and OS X, I’d love to get the details on how “the core Vista technology” is far more stable than OS X…not that both operating systems aren’t capable of crashing spectacularly in the right circumstances.


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