Apple vs. Microsoft

Some people are complaining that Apple's new ads just spend too much time making fun of Microsoft. But a) Microsoft deserves it and b) Apple warned them.

Let's clear up a couple things first:

  1. Yes, Apple did get a lot of GUI ideas from Xerox Parc. But they paid for them.
  2. Plus, they intruduced a lot of new things as well, starting in the early 1980s and continuing through to today.
  3. MS stole plenty from Apple, but they also had some of their own ideas.
  4. And Apple has even taken ideas from MS, especially in the OS 8.5 days.
  5. But the fact is, MS has stolen a lot more from Apple than anyone else has stolen from anyone else. So it's perfectly fair to tease them about it. And they're so blatant about it. One recent low-level example: After Apple announced its 'Aqua' interface for OS X, MS announced that the UI in XP would be named as well, and it would be called 'Luna.'

So that covers point 'a': that MS copies blatantly and deserves to be ridiculed. 

But even further, lest ye think Apple's being a sore winner about this, bear in mind point 'b': Apple they gave MS plenty of warning. At the Summer 2004 Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) Apple had huge banners saying things like 'Redmond, start your photocopiers' and 'Introducing Longhorn.' ('Longhorn was an early codename for what eventually became Vista. I was at the 2004 WWED and have that shirt, btw.) 

The 2004 WWDC was when Apple introduced Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and they were taking some cute jabs at MS, making fun of their history of copying Apple and predicting that the new features that Apple showed that day would make their way into Vista. Well guess what: that's exactly what happened! Spotlight and Dashboard are the two biggest examples. There is nearly nothing in Vista that is a) really compelling and b) wasn't in OS X 10.4. Or 10.3 (Exposé/3DFlip) or 10.2 (hardware-accelerated window drawing or 10.0/10.1 (live thumbnails.) So Apple has every right to tease MS about taking half a decade to introduce features that have been in OS X for 2, 3, 4, or more years.