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Emails show MS experienced OS X Tiger envy

updated 02:30 am EST, Thu February 8, 2007

MS inspired by OS X Tiger

Newly released documents reveal that Microsoft executives were awed by Apple's future operating system features, saying that the it may not be able to achieve Apple's innovation levels and acknowledging future, similar Windows Vista features would be directly compared with Mac OS X. Confirming earlier reports that Vista development was inspired by Tiger, Techweb reports that internal Microsoft email messages from 2004 reveal that company evangelists and executives were awed by Apple's Spotlight desktop search and acknowledged that what they did in Windows Vista would be directly compared with Mac OS X. The messages, the report claims, were filed as evidence in an Iowa state court trying a Microsoft antitrust case and contained message from several company evangelists and executives, including Jim Allchin, the head of Windows development efforts at the time.

Allchin had reportedly just returned from the June 2004 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple during the conference posted Redmond banners touting its innovation and foreshadowing possible comparisons to the Microsoft's future products: the banners read "Redmond, we have a problem," and "This should keep Redmond busy" and included with a pictures of Apple's Mac OS X "Tiger" CD. Apple also took less subtle shots at Windows Vista at its developer conference last year.

The report also notes that Lenn Pryor, former director of Microsoft's platform evangelism, was impressed by Apple's integrated desktop search functions, now called Spotlight. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs highlighted the new feature at the developer conference and called it "amazing. "It is like I just got a free pass to Longhorn-land today," he said, according to the report. Longhorn was the previous code-name for Windows Vista.

Allchin acknowledged that the company may not be able to match the performance of Apple's Spotlight desktop performance: "I don't believe we will have search this fast," he said in an emailed reply in late June. Apple developer conference was held just weeks before, from

Other Microsoft employees also realized that Apple's operating system was setting the bar against which Microsoft would be compared. Microsoft evangelist Vic Gundotra, who also attended the Mac OS X Tiger demo, was also impressed by other components of Apple's operating system, including video conferencing, Apple's desktop Dashboard with Web-based Widgets as well as other aspects of user interface rendering.

"The bits we deliver in [Microsoft's] September PDC [Professional Developers Conference] must be compelling, even in beta form," Gundotra wrote in his reply. "UI must be hot. We will be directly compared against [Mac OS X] Tiger." Gundotra, the report notes, recently left Microsoft to join Google after a year's sabbatical to abide by a non-compete clause.

Techweb notes that Microsoft released the first beta of Vista to a limited number of testers two months before the 2005 PDC event.

Earlier this year, documents exposed during the trial revealed Allchin comments preference for the Mac--in which he said he would buy a Mac if he didn't work for Microsoft--although he later claimed that it was simply a statement to help make his point.

by MacNN Staff




  1. coldfusion1970

    Joined: Dec 1969



    To be fair their is always going to be symbiosis between rival operating systems as they look to each other for inspiration.

    But i'm happy to say that having played around with Vista (under Boot Camp), i'm still happy to be primarily a OSX user (i use Windows for MMORPGs).

  1. test22

    Joined: Dec 1969


    test comments

    test comments1

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    yeah, let's be fair. ms always has been. actually let's not, let's call them the thieves and liars they are, loud and clear. they've had a free pass to theft for too long. i'm glad people are saying it and printing it.

  1. Ashari

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I've used Vista for a day

    I just installed Vista Ultimate on BootCamp (very easy procedure!) and have to say that it is the most ego stroking operating system I've ever seen... but not of the user's ego, of Microsoft's ego!

    Everything in the OS is about Microsoft.

    For instance, IE7 has only Windows Live search available by default in the search bar. You can add others (Google, for instance, you know, the search engine that almost EVERYONE ON THE PLANET USES!), but it is a multistep process that should NOT have to be made by the user - the average user will not know what to do.

    The RSS Feeds gadget only displays Microsoft Feeds. I haven't found an easy way to add other feeds. Nice, eh?

    Microsoft went out of their way to make their OS locked directly to their services, and used whatever dirty tricks they could think up to make it difficult to use the services of other companies.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Add It To The List ...

    ... of oxymorons: Microsoft Evangelists. They sure put the 'moron' in 'oxymoron.' Might as well evangelize McDonald's as a healthfood joint since they do serve water. (If you ask.)

    Now I could believe 'Microsoft Evfallenangelists.' After all, they are about innovation and choice (and Apple's innovation is their choice.)

  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what an ugly VIsta!

    I was in Best Buy yesterday and played with some HP box running Vista. Boy that is an GUI that only a complete geek could love. There is no clarity to anything from the window buttons to the color scheme. Of course most people have low esthetic standards so they will think all the colors are just "pretty" while they spend more time looking through the visual clutter to figure out how to get anything done. The animation is tiring after a short time we don't need such drama to see a window reopen do we.

  1. GORDYmac

    Joined: Dec 1969




  1. madgunde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sorry MacNN...

    This article is VERY poorly written, and difficult to understand at a couple of points. In contrast, the original ITNews article you quote is much more readable and clear.

    You may want to re-read your article and make edits to improve readability. There are repetitive use of words in one or two sentences, and in another sentence, you make it sound like Steve Jobs is saying something, when it fact it was someone else. There's also a missing closing quotation mark.

  1. Abu Sofia

    Joined: Dec 1969


    sorry madgunde . . .

    You have one subject-verb agreement error and one (well, maybe two)punctuation problem(s).

    Maybe you're not the best person to be making comments on the quality of the author's writing.

    In any case, the other grammar illiterates above didn't have any problems understanding the content, so maybe you should take your finger off of your monitor as you read or get your content from a news source that never prints typos, like CNN. Oh wait, I saw a typo there just yesterday . . .

    Ease up.

  1. Grrr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Agreed, terribly written.

    Ease up? Come on, this is an embarrassment to Macnn.. Don't they proof read anything before submitting that rubbish? Madgunde errors are less critical, as what he's saying isn't broadcast as front page news.

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