Microsoft gives up trying and starts blatantly copying…


John Gruber just made quite an interesting post/find on his site about how Microsoft has straight copied Apple’s Workgroup Manager Icon.

Here’s a screenshot of Microsoft’s page with the icon:

Workgroup icon

The page this is on is here (click the Buy Now button).

Workgroup icon

Then check out the icon on Apple’s OS X Server page (towards the bottom).

This is way more than “inspiration” here. This is some kid at Microsoft going to the Apple site, saving the image to the Microsoft server, and then bragging to his boss that he just whipped up the icon. Pathetic.

UPDATE: It would seem Microsoft have swapped out the icon…what a surprise.



“Pathetic.” The only thing pathetic here is that you seem to enjoy MS bashing. Get over it.

“This is some kid at Microsoft going to the Apple site, saving the image to the Microsoft server, and then bragging to his boss that he just whipped up the icon.” Oh and I’m sure this actually happened.


I can’t believe Apple would do something like that!
That icon has been used by Microsoft for years, oh well…it’s the sincerest form of flattery right? :)


i tend to agree with people on here in saying that one shouldn’t just jump to outlandish conspiracy theories. however, i’d say it’s pretty telling that microsoft has changed the icon, while apple hasn’t.

Gary R Boodhoo

sarcasm follows…
the sky appears to be falling. This is a travesty. What has happened to the idea of craftsmanship in this country. This is nearly as banal as every blog out there using the same templates.

Research TV

This isn’t copying, it was an inaccurate MS bashing. MS isn’t the greatest company, but I think we need to look at apple and ms equally – both are responsible for deskilling the concept of the OS.


I must be a freak because even if it is a ripoff I can only see this as a good thing. It will help people switch OS’s more easily and feel more comfortable in the process anyway.

O/S Icons are the way to go, think about the end user for a change perhaps?


Seriously man. I’m no Microsoft or Apple fan. Quite frankly, I like Linux. And you know, IconFactory has done design work for Microsoft, Apple, and Ubuntu. It’s pretty obvious that the only thing “pathetic” here is your desperation to find something to hate about Microsoft. There are a lot of things, but them finally updating their OS’s look with a bit of style isn’t one of them.

yo momma

we all know how MS makes their OS,

1-steals graphics from apple
2-steals code from open source
3-stuffs it with whole bunch of garbage,which no one wants on their system and sells it for $500 a pop,

now thats a ripoff


Is this what you spend your time criticizing Microsoft for? And given that 99% of the applications I hear mac fans go on about have to do with changing icons or the colors of items on their desktops, shouldn’t this be on the list of importance somewhere between “pink USB cables, pro or con” and “ionic air purifiers and WiFi, a guide for newbies”?

Besides which, we could always talk about how both companies ripped off Xerox in the first place, but that would just be petty, wouldn’t it? Like this blog entry?


Have you also noticed that the user folder structure within Vista is exactly the same as that of Mac OS X ? e.g. /Users/Pingspike/Documents/ etc. (where Pingspike is the username)

Exasperated Calculator » Blog Archive » Is Google turning evil?

[…] Neither of these two stories by themselves is very remarkable. Web designs get copied all the time, and it’s very unlikely this was the deliberate decision of any of the senior executives (like Microsoft’s recent embarrassment is likely just one rogue designer). And it’s a rough business out there, but competition is fair game. Just because you got there first doesn’t mean you own the land (AltaVista, anyone?). […]


I agree with Jim. It means Apple is influencing more people than we think, even the great MS who rarely innovates anyway.

My take is that they’re not copying, they’re just going with the times and Apple is a trend setter. After all, it’s been like that for a while now, remember that interface deal between Steve and Bill?

Marco (Griffith) Jardim

I’m not a Microsoft fan, however, lately they’ve seem to have been adopting standard, or should I say, more popular icons like the RSS Feed icon in Internet Explorer 7. Perhaps this is just another move similar to that.

“Blatantly copying” is a very negative to put, if we aren’t informed about it. However, it could just be a better standardization between two different platforms. Then again, what you’re saying is more likely. Therefore, it is, in fact, a blatant copy.


Indeed Nokia does it too. The most pathetic aspect is, that only Windows software is offered when you click the iTunes icon on the Nokia website! Tragic.


Workgroup Manager (from which the icon originates) has been in use in OS X Server since at least version 10.3. Placing it ahead of M$ by about 3 years. The icon hasn’t changed in the interim.

finis coronat opusMicrosoft Workgroup Manager Icon

[…] Posted by Aitor García Mon, 11 Dec 2006 21:37:52 GMT Ummm… este icono me suena… ¡coño! como es exactamente el que aparece en Mac OS X. Sabia que la creatividad pasaba por horas bajas en las oficinas de Redmond pero esto … simplemente y como dicen en the Apple Blog, es patético. […]


(In reply to #4 Andrew)
Teach a college web design class, and see how students think any thing they find on the internet is their free depository of ideas and sadly, you’ll see how easily and often this happens as depicted above.
While i believe 99.99% of things in the world are derivatives, it is sad when a lack of originality or respect when representing a company or product or idea is taken.


I saw this on Gruber’s site also, but is there any confirmation that the Apple site did indeed use the icon before the M$ site.


And both look like complete rip-offs of David Lanham’s Agua icon set… done a LONG time ago! Since he works for Iconfactory, I suppose he is responsible for the icon, but I can’t believe he wouldn’t change at least **something** about the icons before selling them to MS and Apple.

Andrew Creek

I’m no MS fan, but I find it hard to believe they would just steal something like that.


I’m not sure if this is the case, but previously when I would here someone stated that “those icons are Mac-ish” or “Windows stole those icons”, I figured out that neither group designed their own icons and most of the work was done by the same company, IconFactory. Since this single company is creating for both OSes, we have reason to believe that both will look similar and neither is copying.

One complaint I would have is using the same icon for two different things.

Richard Neal

Hm, it looks like the tilt is a bit different, that makes it okay, right?

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