Microsoft created a secret Windows XP design that makes the operating system look more like a Mac. A recent Windows XP source code leak exposed Microsoft's early work on the operating system and some unpublished topics the company created during its early XP development in 2000.
One is called "Candy" and features a design very similar to Apple's Aqua surface, which was first introduced at the Macworld Conference & Expo in 2000. Although the theme is incomplete, the Windows XP start button, as well as various buttons and user interface elements, are clearly themed to fit Apple's Aqua.
Microsoft never released its Aqua theme for Windows XP, and we know it was used in the early source code for the operating system. Windows developers apparently used the theme as a placeholder to create the design engine for Windows XP. The subject itself is described as "Whistler Eye-candy" and labeled as "For Internal Use Only". Whistler was the code name for Windows XP.
Windows XP Aqua buttons.
Microsoft is known to have moved to a blue-and-green Luna theme for the final version of XP that many referred to as Fisher Price-esque when the operating system was originally released in 2001. The theme engine in Windows XP was a major update to the operating system, allowing the third party themes and a lot of customization.
Microsoft developed Windows XP at a time when there was fierce competition with Apple for desktop operating systems. Later in the '00s, Apple banned Microsoft at its annual developer conference and said, "Redmond, start your photocopiers." Apple also ran a Get a Mac advertising campaign that focused on the shortcomings of Windows, and Windows Vista in particular.
In the 90s and 00s, Windows was heavily influenced by the classic Mac OS and later OS X. Apple has borrowed some Windows functionality too, particularly those related to windows, navigation, control panel, and file and folder browsing.
The leak is a rare glimpse into the early development of an operating system used by millions. We reached out to Microsoft with a comment on the unreleased Windows XP topic and we will update you accordingly.