The iMac Channel

Skin Off Apple's Nose

14 January 2000 - Dan Knight

A long, long time ago Apple computer popularized the graphical user interface (GUI). Microsoft wanted to emulate that and even signed an agreement with Apple to use some features in Windows 1.

Many versions of Windows later, Apple lost a legal battle with Microsoft over the Windows look and feel.

Now they're trying to do the same thing, but on a smaller scale. Apple is trying to eliminate the "skinz" available on the Internet that make Windows look more Mac-like. In particular, Apple is trying to remove WinAqua, a skin that gives Microsoft Windows a look and feel akin to Mac OS X ( see example).

Now I don't do Windows, so I don't know skinz, but those who do tell me that all they do is change the appearance, much as certain programs can change the look of the Macintosh interface.

Instead of threatening, Apple should be flattered. Thousands and thousands of Windows users want to try the Mac OS X appearance now, months before OS X Consumer will be available. Steve Jobs has created that much excitement by demonstrating the new interface.

If anything, Windows users who use the WinAqua skin and like it are real prospects for Apple. When OS X ships, these people will be able to buy a computer that has the look they are used to and a feel (and stability) that will simply leave Windows in the dust.

Apple should be promoting anything that will make it easier for Windows users to switch to the Mac interface, whether it's the traditional Mac OS look and feel or the new OS X Aqua interface.

But I somehow doubt they see things that way.

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