Microsoft’s Ballmer: It’s true, some of Windows Vista’s features are ‘kissing cousins’ to Mac OS X

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked with eWEEK Senior Editor Peter Galli at Microsoft’s professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles last week. One of Galli’s questions provoked Ballmer to comment on Apple and Mac OS X.

Galli: Some Microsoft critics say that many of the features in “Longhorn” already exist in other operating systems. How do you respond to that?

Ballmer: I don’t hear that from enterprise customers. They don’t look at the Mac. They just don’t. Some people will say some of the features are kissing cousins to features they’ve seen elsewhere, and that is true. I’m not apologetic about the fact that we should, in a way that doesn’t offend anyone else’s intellectual property, study and learn and benefit from the work others have done.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Galli didn’t specify Apple’s Mac OS X, so it’s telling that Ballmer brings up Apple and the Mac immediately. Microsoft’s enterprise customers who “don’t look at the Mac,” presumably will think Microsoft developed many of Vista’s features on their own and won’t even realize that they could’ve have most of Vista’s upcoming features for 5+ years already – if only they’d looked at the Mac. Certainly, Microsoft won’t mention to their customers where they got the ideas for Vista, they’ll instead trumpet Vista’s “new” features as “Microsoft innovation,” oxymoron be damned.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
PC World: Microsoft innovation – an oxymoron – September 15, 2005
Microsoft debuts Dashboard Widgets, er, ‘Microsoft Gadgets’ – September 13, 2005
Microsoft appropriates Apple’s ‘brushed metal’ look for Office 12 for Windows – September 13, 2005
Windows czar Allchin says Apple copying Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn – April 27, 2005
Microsoft employees leaving due to (and blogging about) malaise smothering company – April 25, 2005
eWEEK Editor Coursey: Longhorn so far ‘looks shockingly like a Macintosh’ – April 25, 2005
Due in late 2006, many of Windows Longhorn’s features have been in Mac OS X since 2001 – April 25, 2005
Microsoft’s new mantra: ‘It Just Works’ ripped straight from Apple’s ‘Switch’ campaign – April 22, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Microsoft’s Longhorn: ‘They are shamelessly copying us’ – April 21, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn will bear more than just a passing resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – April 15, 2005
Silicon Valley: Apple CEO Steve Jobs previews ‘Longhorn’ – June 29, 2004
Apple CEO Steve Jobs: Mac OS X Tiger ‘is going to drive the copycats crazy – June 28, 2004
Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs previews Mac OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ to ship in the first half of 2005 – June 28, 2004
Apple takes dead aim at Microsoft, ‘Longhorn’ with WWDC Mac OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ ads – June 28, 2004
PC Magazine: Microsoft ‘Longhorn’ preview shows ‘an Apple look’ – May 06, 2004
Microsoft concerned that Longhorn’s look and feel will be copied if revealed too soon – August 25, 2003
Windows ‘Longhorn’ to add translucent windows that ripple and shrink by 2005 – May 19, 2003
Apple leads; Wintel follows as usual – November 11, 2002


  1. Steve Ballmer looks like a product of a lot more than just “kissing cousins” if you ask me.

    Image growing up in a family where your mom calls your dad “brother”.

    All they can do is jump around and mimick others.

  2. Seems to me Ballmer’s justifying stealing Apple’s intellectual property by saying they’re too small for people to notice. It’s still copyright infringement either way you slice it monkey boy. Guess being inbred makes you stupid. Maybe he should stick to dancing.

  3. Am I biased towards Steve Ballmer? Or the guy always says / do things that come out being just plain dumb or stupid? Things that a 60 billion company CEO shouldn’t be saying?

    I mean, for instance herel, he just go ahead and mentions the Mac exposing himself and his company that they copied features from OS X. While somewhere else, he starts shouting like a crazy monkey, sweating his fat off and jumping up and down? In another occassion he sends a chair spinning in the conference room while cursing and making death threats to the CEO of a rival company?

    Doesn’t Microsoft have a PR / Press department that prevents their people from making / saying things that could compromise the company?

    I really would want to see Ballmer being cross quetioned in a courtroom. Just think about all the compromising info that he would reveal about Microsoft if being interrogated by a slick lawyer…

    MW: “end” as in “Is Microsoft’s end near? Will Steve Ballmer accelerate the proccess?

  4. fef: I think Ballmer quite rightly recognizes that he could show up for a trade conference listening to an iPod, pack the iPod away and pull out a PowerBook for his show presentation, tell everyone he prepared the presentation himself with Keynote, and then close with a movie he made in iMovie with a soundtrack he pieced together in GarageBand, and it wouldn’t budge Apple’s market share up or Microsoft’s down a single percentage point.

  5. The only thing that could possibly stop my company from using OS X Server is the fact that we need support for meeting management and conference room booking that we currently do using Exchange+Outlook combo. Otherwise I maybe would have made the switch already. SQLServer 2000 is easier to switch.

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