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Microsoft gives up trying and starts blatantly copying…

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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.

90 Responses to “Microsoft gives up trying and starts blatantly copying…”

  1. Remember when the Enterprise uploaded Windows to the Borg spacecraft? That was 11 years ago and I still hate their product. You don’t have to be a Mac/Linux Zealot to appreciate an operating system that works well. When Microsoft jacks the price up to $300 next year, I bet all the MS Loyalist idiots change their tune. Oh yeah, did I mention that you won’t be able to steal it anymore with Vista? Funny how half the loyalists aren’t even paying for it.

  2. Court Kizer

    I can personally attest to the FACT that not only did an Apple employee create that Icon, they own the copyright on it. I know the individual in question.

    Apple created this icon, not a stock company. Apple has hired people who worked at stock icon companies in the past, but ONLY as full time employees and never as a contractor or stock icon. This icon has been around for a long time. This is blatant copyright infringement.

  3. “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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. Rofecture

    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.

  8. 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

  9. 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?

  10. Pingspike

    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)

  11. 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?

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. (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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.