Thurrott: many of Windows Vista’s upcoming features appeared first in Apple’s Mac OS X

“Echoing my earlier comments about Windows Vista being a train wreck, Microsoft group vice president Jim Allchin walked into chairman Bill Gates’ office in July 2004 and told him that the software project was horribly behind schedule and would never get caught up. ‘It’s not going to work,’ he said, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The problem was that Vista was too complicated, and Microsoft’s age-old methods for developing software just weren’t going to be good enough,” Paul Thurrott reports for WinInfo.

“Despite my repeated efforts at getting Microsoft to speak on record about the events of last year, when the company halted development of Windows Vista–then codenamed Longhorn–so it could completely start over, from scratch, the software giant and its PR firm has consistently railroaded me and prevented me from sitting down with people who are knowledgeable about what happened,” Thurrott reports. “However, I had been briefed informally about these events, referred to internally as ‘the reset.'”

“Contrary to the WSJ report, however, the reset was underway months earlier than July 2004… Apple’s technically excellent Mac OS X system, while not a threat at all to the PC desktop, remains in the game with an ever-possible sales boost from the iPod and iTunes, which dominate the consumer electronics and digital music markets, respectively,” Thurrott reports. “Much of [Microsoft’s] problems are related to corporate culture, and that won’t be fixed by Microsoft’s recent reorganization. Microsoft is far too big a company with far too many levels of executives, to move quickly and seize on new market trends. Windows Vista, as a result, is fighting the OS battles of the last decade, reacting rather than being proactive and innovative. Mac OS X users, for example, can point to many of Vista’s features and correctly note that they appeared first on Apple’s system, sometimes years ago. For Microsoft, a company that desperately wants to be seen as an innovator, this situation is untenable… All that said, Windows Vista is now on track. Current beta builds of the system show an OS that is far more similar to Windows XP, with fewer new features and a much less elegant interface, than originally planned. But it’s a solid-looking release…”

Full article here.

The Wall Street Journal article referenced by Thurrott is here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Microsoft’s Ballmer: It’s true, some of Windows Vista’s features are ‘kissing cousins’ to Mac OS X – September 19, 2005
Microsoft suffers from malaise, key defections, Windows Vista struggles, lack of towels – September 16, 2005
Microsoft’s Bill Gates’ prediction of Apple iPod market share decline fails to materialize – September 18, 2005
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
Apple to unleash Leopard on Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn; Mac OS X 10.5 due late 2006 – early 2007 – June 07, 2005
Windows tech writer Thurrott: ‘In many ways, Mac OS X Tiger is simply better than Windows’ – May 07, 2005
Bill Gates jokes about Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ and calls Apple ‘the super-small market share guy’ – May 03, 2005
Thurrott: ‘Longhorn is in complete disarray and in danger of collapsing under its own weight’ – April 27, 2005
Windows czar Allchin says Apple copying Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn – April 27, 2005
Thurrott: Longhorn ‘has the makings of a train wreck’ – April 26, 2005
Thurrott: Longhorn demos ‘unimpressive, fall short of graphical excellence found today in Mac OS X’ – April 26, 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
The Age: ‘Apple’s Mac OS X at least a generation ahead of Windows XP, iMac G5 clearly the best’ – December 15, 2004
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. Best thing for MSFT shareholders is to break MSFT into three companies – an OS company (Vista, PDA OSes, etc), an applications company (office, etc), and a media/accessories company (Xbox, mice, WMA, etc).

    This would give MSFT the ability to work in different markets – the gaming group could have a Rapid App development culture for new games, the OS group a Waterfall design slow-boat-to-China culture, and the Applications group could finally develop for other OSes using the iterative design model that has actaully served them well.

    MDN word: again

  2. What i want to know is, what features will Longvista have that won’t be migrated to XP?

    I read that BG’s goal with longhorn was to rewrite every line of code to make it lighter and faster and just better. Sounds good, but decades of testing can a solid platform make. This seems like exactly the best way to doom Vista with exploits, and why OS X is a smashing success.

    Bah! Apple has decades to go before Windows is forced out of the enterprise. Meanwhile we have to put up with all this…

  3. The unfortunately reality is that even though Mac OS X is far superior, easier to use and more trouble free than Windows it will always be a mediocre and predominent as it is today. The truth of the matter is that most people are not educated enough to learn anything other than Windows. They really don’t even know Windows very much either. It’s a sign of “mediocrity” at its best. A true sign of the way America and the world to an extent and going. Microsoft will always be king because of this.

    The Macintosh truly attracts the more educated and assertive individual. Individual being the key word. Most Macintosh users are curious and intersted in learning. How many Windows people have you met that say “oh my computer doesn’t work” and they just do nothing about it.

    Unfortnately, it is the way of the world.

  4. And is it based on free-bsd too?

    Strange that Allchin gets this momentous change through – and then retires.

    So, we can take it that Vista will ship in 2007.

    And two years later add the features promised for 2003.

    When people will have switched to Mac, with MS’ headlights now invisible in the rearview mirror…

  5. Now, explained John Montgomery, director of the .Net development platform, code is checked into the “Windows tree,” a multi-stage process that he said catches a lot more bugs earlier. “Once you check code into the source tree, mechanical scrubbers look through the code for stupid stuff,” Montgomery said. Static code analysis software runs automatically on every piece of code, catching such things as errors in naming conventions or code that could cause memory overruns. “If anything fails, they fail the whole thing, and it gets pushed back to you.”

    Looks like they should move to 1 Infinite Loop.

    When the Longhorn project to build an XP successor got started, teams of engineers set off to develop it as they always had. Mr. Gates was especially eager for them to add a fundamental change to Windows called WinFS that would let PC users search and organize information better. One goal was to let users scour their entire computer for work they had done on a subject without needing to go through every individual program or document.
    Mr. Gates’s WinFS project was so troublesome that engineers began talking about whether they could make the “pig fly.” Images of pigs with wings started appearing in presentations and offices.

    They’ll never get Ballmer to fly.

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