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Imitation is flattery? Microsoft’s secret XP theme that made it look like a Mac

Microsoft had a secret XP theme that made it look like a Mac - the Aqua Mac theme.

By: HT TECH
Updated on: Aug 20 2022, 23:11 IST
A labeled ‘Candy’ included a design that looks quite similar to Apple’s Aqua interface that was first introduced at the Macworld Conference & Expo in 2000. (The Verge)
A labeled ‘Candy’ included a design that looks quite similar to Apple’s Aqua interface that was first introduced at the Macworld Conference & Expo in 2000. (The Verge)

Microsoft had created a secret Windows XP theme that made the operating system (OS) look like a Mac. The Verge reported a recent Windows XP code leak that revealed some of Microsoft’s initial work on the OS along with some unreleased themes they created while developing the XP back in 2000.

One of these themes, labeled ‘Candy’, includes a design that looks quite similar to Apple’s Aqua interface that was first introduced at the Macworld Conference & Expo in 2000.

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Though this Candy theme is incomplete, the Start button along with various other buttons and some UI elements closely resemble Apple’s Aqua theme.

Microsoft never actually released this Aqua theme for Windows XP and used it as early source code or placeholder to build the theme engine for Windows XP. The theme itself is described as a “Whistler skin with eye candy” and was marked for ‘internal use only’. Whistler was the codename for Windows XP.

For the final version of XP, Microsoft picked a blue and green Luna theme which many called Fisher Price-esque when it launched in 2001. The theme engine in Windows XP was a major OS update and allowed third-party themes and lots of customisability.

Microsoft was developing Windows XP at a point in time when there was fierce competition from Apple in the desktop operating systems domain. Apple had shot one at Microsoft with “Redmond, start your photocopiers” banners at the annual developers conference. They also ran a Get a Mac ad campaign that highlighted the flaws of Windows and Windows Vista in particular.

During the 1990s and the 2000s, Windows was quite heavily influenced by the classic Mac OS that later became OS X. But Microsoft isn’t the only one who ‘copied’ stuff. Apple too borrowed some Windows features, particularly around windowing, navigation, control panels, file and folder browsing etc.

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First Published Date: 26 Sep, 12:42 IST

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