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Mac developer looks to Windows to escape Tiger

With Apple planning to offer similar features in its next version of OS X, programmer Arlo Rose moves Konfabulator to Windows.

With Apple Computer threatening to push his product aside, longtime Mac developer Arlo Rose has expanded his Konfabulator to Windows.

The program, which Rose has sold for $25, lets computers run a variety of small graphical programs, known as widgets, that show information such as stock quotes or the current weather on a Mac desktop. However, in June, Apple announced that it would offer a very similar capability, called Dashboard, in the next version of Mac OS X, code-named Tiger.

A Windows version was already in the works when Apple announced its plans for Dashboard, but the move made the PC option all the more important, said Rose, who once worked at Apple and now heads up a small company called Pixoria. He said the Windows version of Konfabulator will be available Monday.

"We're all diehard Macintosh developers here, but we recognize that Windows is the dominant platform," Rose said in a statement. "When you have a great idea, you want more than 2 percent of the global market to have access to it."

Rose said many of the 800 add-ons, or widgets, already created for Konfabulator will work on the Windows version as well as on Mac OS X.

When Apple announced its plans for Dashboard, Rose accused Apple of being a copycat, a charge the computer maker denied. Apple noted that the concept of widgets has long been a part of Mac OS X and its NextStep OS predecessor.

"The goal isn't to be like anything else," Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller said in a June interview. "It's not his stuff. What we've done is ours."

Rose reiterated his contention in the press release announcing the coming Windows version.

Even moving to Windows may not ensure Konfabulator free reign. Microsoft's plans for the next version of Windows reportedly include a slightly different twist on the same idea. The company has demonstrated a feature called Sidebar that allows access to similar sorts of information in one part of the Windows screen.

Rose has some time--the new Windows is not due until the end of 2006, whereas Tiger is slated for the first half of next year.