Daniel Eran Dilger
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Steven Sinofsky accidentally discovers Mac OS X through extensive research

Daniel Eran Dilger

Steven Sinofsky, the man leading Microsoft’s design of Windows 8, has been busy posting extensive blog entires detailing how the company has arrived at design decisions for its upcoming release of its new PC operating system next year. In his latest, he explains how extensive user interviews and research labs were able used to clone Mac OS X’s Force Quit box from ten years ago.
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If that part isn’t hilarious enough on its own, there’s also the More Details view, which now shows things like “Grouping by applications, background processes, and Windows processes,” and “Grouping top-level windows by app,” something Activity Monitor has always done.

Click to enlarge:

  • stormj

    So they’re even going to steal Apple’s “Windows 95 = Mac 1985” campaign to steal Apple’s technology? lol.

  • Brau

    Oh …. but didn’t you know …. the window buttons are on the *right* side, along with using different code … which makes their idea entirely new and original.

    The same unabashed copying that MS got away with in the early 90s continues, along with the unbelievable assertion they are not copying.

    Once again we see why Steve Jobs said:
    “We intent to make products others can’t simply copy with a software update”.

  • salvo

    I thought the most “common scenarios” of the Windows Task Manager was to randomly kill processes in order to remove MalWare.
    The new design looks like it will be of limited use for that.

  • enzos

    >…. the window buttons are on the *right* side, <
    and don't forget that they're eco-friendly at MS they put their rubbish in the Recycle Bin instead of the plain old Trash. (As if you're actually going to 'Recycle' the files you want to throw away; that's hilarious! As is the infantile joy of using a Unicorn [or was is a Wizard] to do the work of a Helper).


    Ah yes, Ma'am, but it is a very special stick. Because when you throw it away, it comes back!
    -Blackadder

  • lahaina

    So maybe someday while rummaging around his hole in the goddamned ground, he’ll find his ass, too. Sheesh!

  • MarkyMark

    always be innovatin’…

  • jmfree

    Microsoft manages to be, all at once, an extremely profitable and yet deeply discouraging company. They are a metaphor for the saying that we get the politicians we deserve.

    Embedded in Microsoft’s DNA is an understanding of how many people (the dismal “mainstream”) don’t really want to be on any kind of leading edge of anything. They want something unimaginative, cheap, and safe, and certainly something that’s been done before. They want something they can understand easily, because it’s been around so long who WOULDN’T understand it?

    This is the difference between companies that are merely “satisfying demand” and those that are creating new kinds of demand (i.e. changing expectations and our ideas of what is possible). The cleverness of Bill Gates was always how to stay one or two steps behind the “edge,” clever and prudent but never really inventive.

    Now that he’s gone (busily reforming the world’s image of him as the guy who didn’t deserve to win), the company maintains the original spirit in perfect form, rolling out one mediocre try after another, lobbing round after round of cannon fire in its war against consumer perception. It’s like they don’t want to entice, seduce, or delight you. They want to pound you into submission. And god knows they don’t want to take risks along the way.

    I think it’s almost a miracle that Excel, Word, or even Outlook were ever created — popular applications that are actually quite good for their paradigm and reflect the kind of intensity and focus necessary to bring any value.

    But outside the existing paradigm, this is a company utterly lost and spinning out into an endless vacuum of space that is just too big for them to comprehend. What a terrible and modern example of the innate failure of the “committee” mentality.

  • vikram333

    Daniel…Sinofsky responded to your claim as posted by a commentator on his blog. Seems disingenuous as MSFT always is but his response to the Mac copycatting was:

    “…but at least look at the top picture for the Windows 3.0 task manager from 1989. It sure looks like what we have today :-) And back in 1989 the Mac OS System 6 didn’t quite have a task manager (which I think was introduced with the unified multifinder in System 7) — I’m sure by saying this someone will dig up the actual facts :-)…”

    [True, System 6 didn’t have a task manager because there was nothing to kill, and no need. It ran one app at a time unless you had MultiFinder running, in which case I’m pretty sure it had a kill task as well. Of course, whether Microsoft’s DOS or the classic Mac OS, killing a task didn’t matter because you didn’t have memory protection so if anything crashed your whole system was hosed anyway. It wasn’t until NT arrived (mid 90s, usable by the late 90s) that Microsoft had a real OS.

    That beat Mac OS X to market (technically, albeit not really among consumers who didn’t get NT’s benefits until XP), but if Sinofsky hopes to compete in the 90s, he’s 20 years too late. As it is, he’s already competing with ten years ago.

    And if he want to turn things into a general pissing match based on who did what first, the NeXTSTEP foundation of Mac OS X came out in 1988, before anyone was actually using Windows 3.0. However, once again its 2011, and Windows 8 isn’t even here yet. – Dan ]

  • http://wet.atari.org kovacm

    hope they will copy look&feel of System Preference also… ;)

    Windows 7 Control Panel is real MESS!

  • gctwnl

    I think you intended to use two different images, not twice the same?

    I do think it is somewhat nice to have the Activity Monitor be am extended view of a “Force Quit” window. Having two interfaces on the Mac is different. The one thing you do often is behind the “Force Quit” panel, the heavy stuff in a separate app. You cannot easily launch one from the other.

    That the extended ‘activity monitor’ from Windows now gets a default view that is as simple as Force Quit in OS X seems a smart development. Maybe slowly, Microsoft is also slowly filled with a sense of design as being important (little as it is)? That would be the crown on SJ’s influence.

  • jkundert

    Hey, at least the Win 8 task manager is uglier. They innovated there–don’t take that away from MS!

  • gus2000

    The Steve (RIP) always said that it wasn’t so much the copying that bothered him, it was the fact that Microsoft did such a poor job of it. At least they’re getting better at it.

    Or are they? The side-by-side is quite telling.

    – They both display 7 items, but the Win8 box is bigger. Why? It’s all the unnecessary details…window borders, lines between items, etc. The OSX modals (and particularly iOS in general) are much cleaner, architecturally speaking. Even scrollbars only appear now when necessary.
    – What does a “Task Manager” do? Is that like a “Trapper Keeper”? The OSX title is succinct. The Win8 title includes the “Windows” branding, but what is a “task” exactly? Who the heck uses that word? Do you download tasks, or buy tasks, or run tasks? No, you run “programs”, or “apps”, or… Applications.
    – Despite being substantially smaller, the OSX modal includes basic instructions, and teaches you the keyboard shortcut if you’re interested. I’m picturing my mom looking at the Win8 modal and saying “What’s a task, and why do I need to manage it? How did I get this box? What do I do now that I’m here?”

  • kdaeseok

    My MBP always becomes unstable after force quitting a video editor, Safari, Skype and a few others. I often just end up restarting the computer.
    Hopefully Win8 does a better job at this.

  • OneGeV

    Dan, your response in post 8 is another classic. I think you need a TARDIS to keep track of what was supposed to happen when. I do have a question about your graphic. Shouldn’t the Mac have the Finder in the list of tasks? (If not, then there should be a scroll bar.)

    @gctwnl, in my opinion, you have it backwards. ActivityMonitor should not be an extension of ForceQuit. AM is the full fledged diagnostic (including ways to stop tasks), which is why it has the heartbeat monitor as an icon. FQ is the system level absolute deterrent, kept as simple as needed so it is easy to use in an emergency.

  • http://macsmarticles.blogspot.com Derek Currie

    OneGeV sez: “Shouldn’t the Mac have the Finder in the list of tasks? (If not, then there should be a scroll bar.)”

    There are no scroll bars in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion unless you trigger them on by a gesture/keystroke OR you turn them on permanently. IOW: Dan’s screenshot is real.

  • http://madhatter.ca The Mad Hatter

    Microsoft – the Puerile Imitator. It seems that they can ruin anything that they imitate.

    Wayne