Microsoft: We Copied Mac OS X, or Maybe Not

There seems to be some debate at Microsoft about where the look and feel of Windows 7 came from. If you ask Simon Aldous, Microsoft's partner group manager, Windows 7 took its look from Mac OS X. Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's Windows Live blog manager, the design inspiration was all in house.

"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," Mr. Aldous said in a PCR interview. "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."

He added "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." 

Mr. LeBlanc, however, claimed Mr. Aldous got it wrong. "I hate to say this about one of our own, but his comments were inaccurate and uninformed."

To back up his statement, Mr. LeBlanc pointed to a Wall Street Journal article that recounts the three-year process Microsoft went through to breath life into Windows 7. According to that article, Windows 7 was shaped from the efforts of thousands of people inside the company and at computer manufacturers such as HP.

Mr. LeBlanc added that Mr. Aldous's comments "Came from a Microsoft employee who was not involved in any aspect of designing Windows 7."

Since Mr. Aldous is the company's partner group manager, it's very likely that he had no involvement with the development of Windows 7. Assuming his comments came from the perspective of a Windows end user, he may have simply hit on something many other people have already noticed: Windows 7 looks a lot like Mac OS X.