Microsoft's Mixed Messages

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Microsoft's recently-released Windows 7 operating system was greeted with more acclaim than grumbles. Yet from the get-go, a handful of tech bloggers noticed that some of the new features seemed awfully similar to features in archrival Apple's Mac operating systems. Microsoft seemed to affirm such rumblings on Tuesday night, when a company manager named Simon Aldous let slip in a interview that Microsoft had taken style cues from its competitor:

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.

Aldous's candid comments sparked an instant public relations war. Microsoft's official products blogger Brandon LeBlanc blasted Aldous, issuing a rebuttal:

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.

Apple fans are naturally having a field day with the news.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.