Microsoft likely shifted its approach to Vista's development in the wake of Mac OS X Tiger's first public appearance, Information Week has revealed. Obtained as part of a public disclosure in an Iowa antitrust case against the Redmond developer, the messages indicated conversations between the company's technology evangelists and executives about Tiger in the wake of its June 2004 unveiling at Apple's WWDC conference. In at least one case, evangelists recommended changes to Vista's development based on what had been seen at the conference.
"[Our] UI must be hot. We will be directly compared against tiger [sic]," then-evangelist Vic Gundotra said. "The bits we deliver in Sept. 05 PDC [Professional Developers Conference] must be compelling, even in beta form."
While Microsoft had been developing a number of similar features in advance of Tiger's demonstration and did not add completely new technologies, the e-mails revealed the surprise that triggered a newfound refocusing in the firm. Multiple Microsoft officials observed the similarity between Vista (then codenamed Longhorn) and its Mac rival, with evangelist director observing that Tiger was akin to "a free pass to Longhorn-land." Plaintifs in the Iowa case had previously revealed an e-mail in which Windows head Jim Allchin declared in frustration that he would buy a Mac after detailing his company's lack of direction at the time.