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Microsoft Internally Worked on a Mac OS X Aqua Inspired Windows XP Theme

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Apr 12, 2001
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Microsoft tested a Windows XP theme that closely resembled Mac OS X's Aqua GUI, reports The Verge.



A recent Windows XP source code leak has revealed various unreleased themes that Microsoft developed in 2000, at a time when Microsoft was in heated competition with Apple regarding desktop operating systems.

One of the themes, codenamed "Candy," mirrors the design of Apple's Aqua interface, which was first introduced at the Macworld Conference & Expo in 2000. Aqua was an iconic Apple design and gave a sense of depth through the use of shadow and translucency, metallic textures, and rounded liquid-like assets.



The theme was described as a "Whistler skin with eye candy," with "Whistler" being the codename for Windows XP, and was marked as "for internal use only." Though the theme was never finished, fundamental aspects such as the Windows Start button and various UI elements were a close match for Aqua.

Most striking is the replication of Mac OS X's rounded water-like buttons. Windows developers reportedly used the theme as a placeholder to build the theme engine for Windows XP.

The theme was ultimately rejected in favor of the blue and green Luna theme for the final version of Windows XP released in 2001. The source code leak reveals another instance of the influence of the Mac on Windows behind the scenes.

Article Link: Microsoft Internally Worked on a Mac OS X Aqua Inspired Windows XP Theme
 
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chucker23n1

macrumors 601
Dec 7, 2014
4,536
5,729
This story gives Microsoft… fairly little credit.

Whistler did actually have a theme that didn’t ship in the final, named Watercolor. That name was perhaps a nod towards Aqua, but it didn’t look that similar:


(I kind of liked it! More so than the Luna theme that did end up shipping, especially.)

However, this theme in the leak just looks like either some MS engineer briefly experimented with aping Aqua, or the trolling is trolling us. It’s extremely low-effort and there’s no way they considered shipping that.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,751
9,602
Prescott Valley, AZ
Can nobody do anything without Apple doing it first? Jeez... the creative bankruptcy of other tech companies is palpable and the nerve with which they blatantly steal the IP of others is criminal.
It was an experimental theme and not released to the public. As for Apple doing it first, Apple rarely does things first. They didn't produce the first laptop, mp3 player, nor smartphone, nor tablet. Their offerings weren't even the first successful ones.
 

genovelle

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2008
1,083
939
Apple almost never does anything first. This is a well understood and well documented tenant of their business model. Sheesh.
Actually that applies to entering new markets. Nowadays rumors that they are entering a market and subsequent leaks, put competitors in a race to beat them to market, which Apple is fine with. Many times the technology for thier vision won’t exist for years. They release it when they are ready and suddenly it’s a hit. Competitors switch direction to copy Apple all while proclaiming it was the inevitable evolution. Poppycock
 

ThisBougieLife

macrumors 68020
Jan 21, 2016
2,353
7,802
SF Bay Area, California
Can nobody do anything without Apple doing it first? Jeez... the creative bankruptcy of other tech companies is palpable and the nerve with which they blatantly steal the IP of others is criminal.

Apple does many things first (like removing the headphone jack, bigger trackpads on laptops, "retina" displays), but they also do other things later (widgets on iOS, facial scanner) and when they do something later, it tends to be better than what came first. :)
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,788
2,452
Can nobody do anything without Apple doing it first? Jeez... the creative bankruptcy of other tech companies is palpable and the nerve with which they blatantly steal the IP of others is criminal.

You're kidding, right? Apple wasn't the first for a lot of things. Apple tends to improve on things and makes them easier to use.

GUI? Nope.
Personal Computer? Nope.
Portable computer / laptop? Nope.
Portable music player? Nope
Smartphone? Nope
Phablet? Nope
Tablet computer? Nope
Smartwatch? Nope
Smart speaker? Nope
Smart TV / Smart TV device? Nope
Wireless earbuds? Nope
Streaming music subscription service? Nope
Streaming tv service? Nope
 

confusedpurple

macrumors member
Sep 12, 2018
84
134
This story gives Microsoft… fairly little credit.

Whistler did actually have a theme that didn’t ship in the final, named Watercolor. That name was perhaps a nod towards Aqua, but it didn’t look that similar:


That theme did ship on some ORM copies. I bought an ex-display model HP PC from PC World (UK) not long after XP service pack 1 came out and it had this theme installed out of the box.

There was also Royale which was made available to download from the MS site around SP2 time.

All embeded copies of XP shipped with Watercolor out of the box too.
 
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