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.