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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. Da Coyote

    Don’t understand the excitement. Just exactly when did Microsoft ever 1) do anything original, 2) do anything better than anyone else (technical here, not the normal business robbery), and 3) advance by any other method than blatently copying the work of those far more advanced?

  2. People, cool your jets. Vista is using a Draw layer API called WDDM, Windows Display Device Manager or something like that. What people don’t know and what noone at Microsoft wants anyone to know is that they are licensing Apple’s draw layer API and rebrading it. This relationship started in 96 when MS first paid Apple 150 MIL to license some pretty interesting things that began Windows’ evolution away from 8 bit icons and poor display performance (Win95-98). There are likely to be many icons and graphic elements in the base libraries that will be common to both Vista and OSX. To any Apple fanboys who may find this information disturbing, take solace in that every copy of Vista sold, every OEM license secured will put $ in Apple’s pocket. It’s a complex world and its only going to get more so.

  3. Wow, we noticed a lot of referrals from this post at Digg this morning so I thought I would jump on quickly to clear things up. I posted a quick response at the Iconfactory. In a nutshell, the icon in question IS an Apple icon and was created by designers at Apple.

  4. 1. Someone at apple DID create that icon

    2. apple does own the copyright to that icon

    3. some lazy designer at M$ needed an icon to finish his page by his deadline, not having sufficient time to create an icon representing more than one user (only what, 5 or so years since vista started?) he grabbed one… and probably not from the apple website. maybe from his own collection of GUI bits or some other website that was using it without permission already.

    4. the fact that M$ immediately changed it is proof they dont own any copyright to it and that it was not initially a M$ sanctioned choice of icons anyway.

  5. Crackhammer

    If you like Mac, does not mean that you have to be a mac zealot. Let Apple and MS sort it out, why do we have to comment it? Isn’t this whole business is based on copying? Have you seen the movie Pirates of the Silicon valley?

  6. @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.”

    Real world headsup – no multi billion dollar corporation is stupid enough to allow its paid employees to own the copyright on works created. “Yes Mr Shareholder, er actually that $50K a year developer we let go owns the copyright to some of our core IP, so we’re a bit up the creek”. Ho ho.

  7. @ 34
    I’m pretty positive that the reason the url shows up in the source code is because its the refering site that brought you there.
    If you copy and paste the link into a different browser window you will notice that the code is no longer there.
    So much for the conspiracy theories.

    And yes, it is HIGHLY likely they simply used the same third party icon shop.

  8. Just in case you retards missed post 19

    # #19 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.

  9. The thing I think is sad, is that before they changed the icon, the page looked really bad. I mean yeah its a nica icon, but it didn’t match the color scheme on the rest of the page, and stood out like a sore thumb(nail *chortle*). Seriously though, the new icon looks a lot better, I wonder why MS used the other icon, when it ruined the look & feel of the page?

  10. @Court Kizer
    Mind telling us the person? Provide proof – it’s easy to say “oh I know this guy who’s a friend of a friend of a friend of God’s sister, and he says MS sucks”.

    People are stupid in that they like to create two extremes, the good company and the bad company. Apple is just as crappy as Microsoft, it’s just that they have a better PR team that works around the clock to ensure that Apple’s dirty little secrets stay secret. What about that IPOD controversy – they’re created in sweatshops? It was big news for a short while, if MS had something similar – it would be a full blown lawsuit I’m sure.

    But MS sucks as well, but I just hate how ignorant people are when it comes to the follies of Apple. Apple is just as monopolistic as Windows, remember they still have DRM technology with IPods – only they call it ‘proprietary’ when it’s apple and DRM when it’s Microsoft.

  11. You haven’t proved that MS copied Apple. Both could have got it from a third party.

    So apple had it first, that’s a questionable design decision on MS’s part, but did it originate at Apple? No evidence of theft.

  12. @sam #35, I also own part of apple, so maybe I can also use apple copyrighted work without fear of infringment? if this is true please tell me, I am anxios to start selling apple computer inc. work as my own!

  13. “#37 abdul

    next thing is going to be the source code”

    I WISH THEY WOULD!!! Maybe they could get a decent OS then…

    Ok, not really, because that would suck for Apple, but still…

  14. MS did buy some shares of Apple but sold it a long time ago.

    However, if you own an investment in a company, that does not allow to random copy or use another caompny intellectual property. If you buy 10 shares of Coca Cola, you don’t have the right to get the ingredient list … d’uh.

    This is a blatant ripoff – clearly by looking at it – it was simply a screenshot grab because the MS icon is clearly lower resolution – MS is lazy. That is their company culture. It’s just their way because they believe they don’t have to follow any rules. If you accept that – fine, continue to buy their products. It’s your money, you’re an adult – you can choose poorly and continue to support a company that has created no innovations in their industry since 1985 – again, you choice … and as for the Xerox thing – both MS & Apple paid money to tour and discuss research with Xerox Parc. At that time, Xerox didn’t much care about the pure science they were funding – they had plenty of money and of course, since they could not conceieve if a business model from these random “creations,” how could anyone else?

    So, if you pay to visit a research lab that let’s you in the front door and shows you everything – it is called research and not “theft.” Try and learn a few things resolved since 1984?

  15. Seriously, Vista has already been cracked, I’m posting from an activated version right now… In fact, I’m dual-booting it with OS X on my HP laptop — I used Windows for years, and can say without a doubt that Mac is better.

    If you check out the link supplied in the story for the Microsoft “Buy Now” page, the icon has been changed… interesting…


  16. Hrmm, doesnt Microsoft own a part of Apple… A large part? I am under the impression that after steve jobs went wack some years ago, Microsoft/Bill Gates had to pull him out of the pooper by buying part of apple.

    If so doesnt this give MS the right to take apple stuff? Its published by apple, but still partly owned by MS.

    Maybe they both just ripped it from a GNU icon set, you never know.

  17. ajazzscientist

    They did change the page, but I found this in the source code. I can’t read xml, and have no i dea what it means, but it is interesting. It is on line 8, right above .


  18. Apple is so great. Microsoft sucks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for reading this. If you are reading this you love Apple!!!!!!!!!!!! HONK IF YOU LOVE APPLE!!!!!

    Post 123 if you hate Micro$oft

    1 – 2 – 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!