Microsoft proves it can be just as pretentious as Apple

Commentary: Did you know that Redmond has created a color called Aqua? It describes the creation in a way that makes Jony Ive seem prosaic.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Can you feel the inspiration?


I used to believe that Apple owned pretentiousness. 

It could describe products in ways that made you feel that its creators really believe themselves artists, rather than mundane craftspeople. Or the even lower-lifes known as nerds.

Who could ever forget Cupertino's chief design officer Jony Ive  describing the iPhone 5C as "beautifully, unapologetically plastic"?

Yet here comes Microsoft with an utterly glorious collection of pretentious dialogue to describe its creation of a color called Aqua for its Surface Pro accessories.

Yes, it's exactly the sort of aquamarine-ish, turquoise-ish color you'd expect. But not as far as lead Surface designer Quan Jasinski is concerned.

As he told the Windows blog: "As designers at Microsoft, we love to use our hands and hearts when creating new products and experiences."

Now that doesn't sound like Bill Gates 's Microsoft, does it? They just used their fists and their claws.

Jasinski, though, continued: "We are consistently inspired by everything around us varying from consumer behavior, cultures merging, nature, architecture, art, science, fashion, sports, and the list goes on."

Wait, he created the aquamarine-ish color Aqua with sports as his inspiration? No, no. It was, um, something else.

"Aqua is a soft and approachable color. When creating Aqua we drew inspiration from our natural surroundings which helped develop its friendly attributes," he said.

There was more.

"This color works beautifully with our materials, from the richness of Alcantara through to the depth and sheen of anodization on our pen. It complements the rest of the existing palette while adding a hint of lightness," Jasinski crooned.

(Alcantara is "a unique and innovative material used in high-end luxury products, sourced only from Italy." It's the cloth-like material on the Surface keyboard.)

My eyes began to water in sheer admiration that Redmond had managed to reach these heights of depth and sheen in its word art.

Why, even in the introduction to Jasinski's words, the Windows blog offered: "Beyond new magical experiences from Windows, Office, and other app partners that help people create in new ways with our innovative hardware, we want to celebrate the intersection of technology and design."

When did you ever imagine that you'd hear the word "magical" in even the same zip code as the words "Windows" and "Office"?

And wait, isn't "magical" a property of Apple? Aren't all Cupertino's products supposed to be magical and revolutionary? Apple even inserted the notion of magic into its tagline for iPhone 7: "Practically magic."

If Microsoft can create this much mind-altering gobbledegook to introduce a new color, please imagine what it might do when it creates a new computer.

"Even something as minor as taking a different road to work can change the way you view the world," Jasinski told the Windows blog.

I think quite a few people in Redmond have been taking a different road to work lately.

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