It might be a case of tell-us-something-we-don't-know, but Microsoft has officially admitted it took inspiration from Apple Mac OS X when it was designing Windows 7. This surprisingly candid statement came from Microsoft partner group manager Simon Aldous in an interview with PCR.
Microsoft "tried to listen to what customers want in terms of a much slicker user interface and the ability to engage with it far more intuitively," said Aldous. "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."
And there it is in black and white. To be fair to Microsoft, it has not only taken influence from/ripped off the Mac OS X dock it has also significantly improved the functionality thanks to Taskbar Peek and programme specific context menus or 'Jumplists'.
"We've taken everything that's good about Vista, along with the core infrastructure of the operating system, and we've made it faster and slimmed down the code to make it more effective," added Aldous. "We've also tried to listen to what customers want in terms of a much slicker user interface and the ability to engage with it far more intuitively. That's the product that we're delivering."
Marketing speak? For sure, but Microsoft gets a torrent of abuse each year and with Windows 7 it deserves a big pat on the back. Faster load times, a more responsive UI, better stability and clever additions such as snap and support for multi-touch gesture control suggest the smug grin long plastered onto OS X users should be starting to fade.
I'm not going to dodge it: Windows 7 or Snow Leopard? For me it is now Windows 7 and by a considerable margin.
Update as might be expected Microsoft has come out and dismissed this news. Interestingly it hasn't rubbished the quotes, but rather it has rubbished Simon Aldous. The ubiquitous Brandon LeBlanc has used the Windows 7 blog to declare:
"An inaccurate quote has been floating around the Internet today about the design origins of Windows 7 and whether its look and feel was "borrowed" from Mac OS X. Unfortunately this came from a Microsoft employee who was not involved in any aspect of designing Windows 7. I hate to say this about one of our own, but his comments were inaccurate and uninformed."
So the case of tell-us-something-we-don't-know has evolved into admit-telling-us-something-we-already-know-but-deny-it's-true. Make up your own minds...