Microsoft copied the Windows 7 Taskbar from... Microsoft?

Check this guy out:

He claims the Windows 7 Taskbar is copied from the Mac OS X dock. He even includes an edited image featuring the same Adobe icons he has in his dock to try and make it seem even more similar. Apart from that he also makes numerous mistakes and wrong assumptions about how the new Taskbar works, and does the standard everyone is copying Apple line, which is completely and utterly false yet it something the Apple fanboys repeat ad nauseum.

Here's a little time line for graphical user interface (Hat tip to ToastyTech for the screenshots).

Xerox PARC create the Alto - the first computer to use a mouse and a graphical user interface (no Taskbar yet).

Apple employees visit Xerox PARC to check out the Alto, after seeing the Alto they begin work on a graphical user interface for their Lisa computer (no Taskbar yet).

Xerox introduce the Star, featuring overlapping windows, double-clicking and dialog boxes (still no Taskbar).
Microsoft begin work on Interface Manager, later to be renamed Windows (still no Taskbar).

Visi Corp releases Visi On, the first GUI for IBM PCs (no Taskbar).
Microsoft introduce Windows (no Taskbar).
Apple release Lisa (still no Taskbar).

Apple introduce the Macintosh (still no Taskbar)

Geos released for Commodore 64 (no Taskbar)
Amiga Workbench announced (still no Taskbar)
Microsoft release Windows 1.01. The first operating system to have something resembling the Taskbar, an area of the screen reserved for iconized programs. See below:

Windows 1.01

Apple release the Macintosh II, featuring colour graphics at last, if I was a fanboy I'd say they copied colour graphics from Windows, but I'm not (no Taskbar though).

Acorn Computers release Arthur (the forerunner to RISC OS). Featuring something resembling the Taskbar, its been so long since I've used RISC OS I've forgotten the name for it.

Microsoft release Windows 95, creating the Taskbar we all know today, featuring a Start button to start new applications, and a tray for running applications to sit in.

Windows 95

Microsoft release Windows 98, which allows shortcuts to programs to be placed in the Taskbar (called Quick Launch).

Windows 98

Apple release Mac OS 9, which features a slide out "dock" along the bottom of the screen.

Mac OS 9

So no I don't accept that Microsoft copied the Taskbar/dock whatever you want to call it from OS X.

He could of quite easily shown the Taskbar with text labels, and without the Adobe icons which were edited into the picture he used.

Windows 7

Or the new Taskbar configured to look like the existing one:

He also claims because the Taskbar items also have menus that they've also been copied from the dock. Newsflash: The Taskbar items have always had menus which have always been customisable by the applications running, now there is additional APIs to plug more information into the Taskbar.

But of course if this guy told you the truth he wouldn't have an argument would he?


Comment from: With Stupid [Visitor]
With Stupid
1 stars

You're a riot. Ever heard of NEXTStep? This article has zero credibility.

4th November 2008 @ 07:15
Comment from: [Member]

Nextstep was first released about 5 years after Windows 1.01. There were plenty of OS' and GUIs I didn't mention, because they came later.

The claim I was debunking was that Microsoft copied the Taskbar from OS X, when clearly Apple released their version in OS 9, OS X used the dock from Openstep, and that Microsoft had the concept in Windows 1.01 predating them.

4th November 2008 @ 14:07
Comment from: Alejandro Lobos [Visitor]
Alejandro Lobos
2 stars

Let's be fair here. The task bar is the taskbar. It only shows running programs. The dock is more than anything a program launcher just as it was shown first in come way in CDE (with a somewhat pop-up menu structure) and NextStep. Nextstep used the dock as program launcher (and clock) and the programs minimized to a corner separate from it very much like CDE. The first combination of dock/taskbar was shown in the beta UI screenshot that never came to life just before Next Inc. was bought by Apple. The combined taskbar/launcher concept survived to OS X. Then Windows copied it somewhat with the "quick launch" bar but nobody noticed. Now if Windows 7 works just like the OS X combined launcher/taskbar in one place, SHAME OF THEM!

4th November 2008 @ 16:31
Comment from: [Member]

Let's be fair the Taskbar also has Quick Launch toolbar which shows shortcuts in Windows 98 and Windows 95 with IE4. Four years before OS X was released.

4th November 2008 @ 17:14
Comment from: Alejandro Lobos [Visitor]
Alejandro Lobos
2 stars

Again, concentrate on NextStep. November 1988. Many things on Windows 95 are ripoffs from NextStep, starting with the "Recycle bin" and the recycle logo, the use of a square and a X in the title bar, and many other queues from the Openstep 4 beta design study including the teal background. Microsoft is a company of thieves. Apple stopped stealing straight ideas since the return of Steve Jobs. At least they innovate.

4th November 2008 @ 19:03
Comment from: insp [Visitor]
5 stars

This guy's sad. This is the reason why I steer clear of OSX Users, They just blow shit up.

So what if Microsoft decided on an over-sized bloated task-bar that I'll probably change later. It's not a dock, cry me a river.

Go fiddle with Photoshop some more; While I enjoy fiddling with Photoshop and gaming gaming gaming on my system that is 1/4 the price AND that can run Mac OSX 10.5+.

4th November 2008 @ 22:24
Comment from: Mike Simpson [Visitor]
Mike Simpson

I don't see why anyone should care where the inspiration for the new task bar came from; it's still an improvement to the one already in place. I'm happy when companies take ideas from each other, to me this only means that Apple will improve on the Dock (I wouldn't mind seeing thumbnails of open windows when I mouse over icons in the Dock). It's how competition works and how technology improves.

5th November 2008 @ 00:30
Comment from: amarok [Visitor]
2 stars

Hehe... Alejandro does have a point, I think.
@insp, go ahead and game game game game, I'd rather do something more useful on my PC.

6th November 2008 @ 19:18
Comment from: insp [Visitor]
5 stars

@amarok - I do more than game, I am a web-designer and game coder. In the spare time I game, code miscellaneous, and host / administrate servers.

Also, Gaming is a form of entertainment; No one if forcing you to partake. Leave that on out of the conversation.


But on-topic, I see an addition on what Microsoft already had. They are not implementing a dock. They're now just giving the users the ability to have giant Icons and a bunch of information.

I for one don't like how they use the transparent background of windows for the bar this time around, but It's an improvement none-the-less.

8th November 2008 @ 03:52
Comment from: xGs_Manco [Visitor]
5 stars

It is really beatutifull, i love it. I think you have all reason. If Microsoft was the first how hell they say it is a copy???????

Really Idiots

8th November 2008 @ 15:04
Comment from: firehawk [Visitor]
5 stars

GOOD GOING SPORT!!!!! This is the kinda stuff microsoft needs for apple fanboys and apple to leave microsoft alone!!! This why apple has failed in the past,they bashed pc users intel they switched to mac because there ego was to high(while microsoft ignores and does there own thing), then eventully pc users get pissed off about it and start deffending then mac goes down the toilet...then it all repeats using windows 7 build 6801 right now and i can tell you that in no way have i come close to using it like the using the windows 7 task bar like i did with jump list,only a few icons ,and with the dock it was packed! like a place to put the icons besides the desktop.

This is some good stuff,and im gladd to see pc users standing up for microsoft.


26th November 2008 @ 08:12
Comment from: Sam Cadby [Visitor]
Sam Cadby
3 stars

I think the origin of the taskbar deserves a little further investigation ;-).

The windows 'taskbar' didn't exist until windows 95. The area to which applications minimized previously in program manager could hardly be called a taskbar by any stretch of the imagination. It was just a 'place', not distinct from any other area of the desktop...

NeXTstep introduced a real dock when it was release circa 1989. And it's this intellectual property that got sold to Apple when Apple bought Next (when Steve Jobs 'returned' to Apple) - hence the emergence of the Apple dock at this time.

However, the taskbar in Acorns 'Aurthur' (the forgotten pre-risc os OS refered to above) defiantly had what I would call a taskbar (Acorn called it the 'Iconbar' IIRC). And it was released in about 1987 (again, IIRC - feel free to check).

Ergo Acorn win ;-).

But WIMP was still Xerox's idea - albeit they failed to see beyond it's use for anything more than a document management system...

26th November 2008 @ 22:07
Comment from: Hombrephaty [Visitor]

Microsoft steals (or "copies", if that word is easier on your ears). That is the reality. Some people are offended by that, some people don't care. The business strategy of steal-and-leverage works (think: Thomas Edison, Walmart).

14th December 2008 @ 18:04
Comment from: Michael [Visitor]
4 stars

I liked this article just because it encourages Mac fanboys to get all pissy, and I find that entertaining. As far as "stealing" GUI ideas goes, it's safe to say that everybody does it. I mean, I happily use Ubuntu, but I enjoy my dock, my Start-button-like main menu, and my Trash. No, Ubuntu (or the broader Linux community) did not invent these things, but I can benefit from them. And to say that Apple doesn't steal ideas is just silly. Hmm... where did those Spaces come from.

1st April 2009 @ 23:56
Comment from: DH [Visitor]
2 stars

I think you'll find Arthur came first...

12th June 2009 @ 15:57
Comment from: [Member]

Arthur was released about 5 years after Windows.

12th June 2009 @ 15:58
Comment from: S. Bala Murugan [Visitor]
S. Bala Murugan
3 stars

Ha Ha Ha what ever it is mac dock is useless piece of shit i havent seen anybody using dock as much as taskbar (people use spotlight and expose for launching and switching) most of the people hide their docks.

But taskbar is lifeline of windows users... equally used as Alt-Tab... with the new additions like the jump lists and progress bars the taskbar has become more sexy and useful (Than Dock obviously) ...

The only more useful stuff i have seen is ubuntu's panels customisable to the core...

( ps. The Bad mindless microsoft has copied the large icons from apple, recycle bin logo from apple, new look of taskbar from apple and the sexy, innovative apple has copied the core operating system from UNIX... Cool....!!)

21st June 2009 @ 18:45

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