Just watched Gates' keynote at CES. His ninth in a row. Turns out nothing has changed. He is still making fantastical predictions about the future; clinging to his old fantastical predictions that have still not come true, e.g. the laptop is dead—long live the tablet; and copying Apple.
Now, admittedly, I think Apple is run similar to a fascist state. There is only one will, one opinion, one Steve way. So I wouldn't want to work there. But I think their products are pretty cool. Really cool, actually. And they are undeniably innovative.
Which brings us back to Gates. Because imitation remains the most sincere form of flattery.
So Gates previewed Vista, a.k.a. Longhorn, a.k.a. whatever it has been meant to become these years since it was originally supposed to come out. And what were the highlights? Well, current Mac OS X features. And nothing else. Every single feature showcased by Gates is in Mac OS X. Every. Single. One. From Instant-On Desktop Search (Mac's Spotlight) to Windows Flip 3D (Expose), from Memories (the iPhoto browser) to the OS-based Slideshow (Slideshow). Even Mac's translucent Aqua interface appears almost unchanged in Vista as the translucent Aero interface. The new URGE service is practically the same as the iTunes Music Store, and Media Player 11 has become a virtual twin of iTunes. The Mac's Dashboard and Widgets are Vista's Sidebar and Gadgets (really!). Even the Dock with its thumbnails showed up as Windows Flip with thumbnails. Vista is a virtual photocopy! I was just floored by the audacity of it. They didn't even bother to try to hide it, during the quirky presentation.
The only "feature" of this sludge that does not appear to be lifted from Mac OS X is called SideShow, an incredibly lame hump that gets added to the cover of your laptop (woo-hoo), presenting a second, tiny screen and some clumsy arrow keys.
Sheez. How on Earth did Windows ever get this large? If that growth is not a testament to the generally bad taste of people, I just do not know what it is.