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Does Microsoft Suffer From Mac OS X Envy?

Microsoft denies comments by its own channel manager that Windows 7 design was inspired by Apple's Mac OS X look and feel.

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The published comments brought a rebuke from Microsoft, which, in a blog posted late Wednesday, called the executive's comments "inaccurate and uninformed."

The dust-up started Wednesday when PCR published an interview with Simon Aldous, Microsoft partner group manager, that was conducted at a Microsoft channel partner event in London. In the interview Aldous noted how often people praise the Mac OS, "that it's very graphical and easy to use. What we've tried to do with Windows 7-- whether it's traditional format or in a touch format -- is create a Mac look and feel in terms of graphics."

Aldous went on to say that Microsoft improved the Windows graphical user interface, "but it's built on that very stable core Vista technology, which is far more stable than the current Mac platform."

The blogosphere, including such sites as Gizmodo and Appleinsider, quickly picked up on Aldous' comments " the latter with the headline "Microsoft official admits Windows 7 design inspired by Mac OS X."

That set off alarm bells at Microsoft. Late Wednesday Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows 7 blogger, posted a blog with the headline "How we really designed the look and feel of Windows 7," in which LeBlanc rebutted Aldous' comments.

"Unfortunately this came from a Microsoft employee who was not involved in any aspect of designing Windows 7. I hate to say this about one of our own, but his comments were inaccurate and uninformed." The short blog referred readers to other articles written by the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal, as well as earlier blog posts by LeBlanc, that detailed the Windows 7 design process.

Can we expect this little controversy to become a story line for one of those "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" advertisements?

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