RIM hires former Mac OS X Aqua UI designer after Microsoft closes Live Labs

“BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion has quietly scooped up Don Lindsay, one of the original masterminds behind the iPhone user interface,” Tricia Duryee reports for mocoNews.net (paidContent.org).

“Last month, RIM hired Lindsay from Microsoft, where he worked for five years as a design director for Live Labs and contributed to the Windows Vista user experience (See a related story on paidcontent.org on how Microsoft is dismantling Live Labs). But it is likely his eight years at Apple that was of more interest to RIM, where Lindsay’s work left a larger legacy on the mobile industry,” Duryee reports. “At Apple, he led the Mac OS X interface concept project and directed the Design team responsible for the User Experience for Mac OS X. Simply put, that means Lindsay helped develop the iPhone interface. The Ottawa Citizen reported in July 2007 that Lindsay left Nortel in 1994 to join Apple, where ‘he hired the team that created the Macintosh Computer’s OS X operating system. Though Lindsay now works at Microsoft, where he runs a design group at Microsoft Live Labs, his influence at Apple would remain profound. His OS X team created the user interface for the iPhone.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In a January 2008 interview with istartedsomething, Lindsay’s description of his time with Apple fails to mention “iPhone” at all – which is wholly unsurprising given that his employment at Apple ended well before iPhone development ever began:

Prior to joining Microsoft in 2003, I spent ten years at Apple where I directed the User Experience team responsible for the first four releases of Mac OS X and was responsible for pulling together the design for the original prototype that became ‘Aqua’, the user experience for Mac OS X. Apple developers might recall my Aqua introduction at the Developers Conference in 2000. I first joined Apple to work on Speech user interfaces and over the course of the ten years I contributed to every release of Mac OS from 8.0 through 10.3.

Simply put, Tricia, working on Mac OS X’s “Aqua” UI through version 10.3 does not mean that Lindsay “helped develop the iPhone interface” at all. Since iPhone’s development took 30 months (2.5 years) and Steve Jobs unveiled it in January 2007, it’s quite likely that Don — who departed Apple in 2003 years before Apple even started the iPhone project — never even heard of the iPhone, much less “masterminded” its user interface.

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