Microsoft denies Windows 7 is based on Mac OS

Following comments from a U.K. Microsoft executive that Windows 7 was designed to create "a Mac Look," a company blog post distances itself from his words.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Corporations can be heinous places. All day, people wander around, playing politics like so many Lindsay Lohans in "Mean Girls."

So today, one wonders just what machinations are being endured by Simon Aldous, the Microsoft Partner Group manager who was Wednesday quoted by PCR as suggesting that Windows 7 was rather inspired by the simplicity of the Mac OS. Indeed, Aldous declared that Microsoft's new operating system was designed to "create a Mac look."

In what appears to be a somewhat hurriedly written post on the Windows Team blog titled, "How we really designed the look and feel of Windows 7," Microsoft showed that perhaps some of its underwear is currently a little twisted.

The post read: "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."

This would suggest that Aldous was, in fact, misquoted.

However, the post, written by Brandon LeBlanc, continued, "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."

"I'm Steve Jobs, and Windows 7 my idea?"
"I'm Steve Jobs, and Windows 7 was my idea?" Stephen Shankland/CNET

Some would therefore now conclude that he was quoted accurately, but he didn't quite get his facts right. This is entirely possible, though one might wonder why he would have made comments with a ring of such endearing honesty.

However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of this Windows Team post is a comment left by someone with the handle "i-dont-do-tat".

This commenter wrote: "I know Simon Aldous, having worked in the same U.K. subsidiary as him for a few years. He's a good guy who, for me, is telling it like it is. He's paying testament to the common view that a Mac is cool and a great template to copy."

As many in the world of business will tell you, copying happens all the time. The competition is scrutinized religiously, and the best articles of faith are taken and sometimes even improved. This happens in every product category.

The "i-dont-do-tat" poster concluded that perhaps honesty might not be such a bad thing: "Denying this to your customers just makes you look stupid because the very look and feel of Windows 7 is desperately trying to look like a Mac OS--just admit it."

Oh, of course one mightn't expect honesty in the mass-market arena. It is a very dangerous place in which to say anything at all. Equally, though, in a tech world interview, perhaps a little nod toward the opposition is not such a bad thing. It might even lull it into a little complacent smugness.

One can only hope that Simon Aldous had a good breakfast Thursday and that he hasn't endured any untoward communications. Unless it's a job offer from Apple, of course, which he should accept only if the company gives him a better deal and appears to come from nicer people.

That's how the corporate world works, you see. Like high school, it's all temporary, so you have to make the most of it while you can.