Are the similarities only superficial?
Did both Mac and Microsoft rip off Linux Distros?
Read infuriating/justifying arguments in nytimes here:
My take: Okay, so it would seem that Microsoft as it did in 1995 has looked to Apple for inspiration for their new operating system. As Pogue points out, Gadgets are just Widgets, the spotlight feature is copied over from OSX, the 3d Chess game is basically the same in both, and, uh oh, windows has changed from little plus and minus signs in its list of folders to little triangles like in OSX.
My response to Pogue and other people that would probably mate with a G5 if they could is, "big freakin' deal." Ummm...in case you haven't noticed whether your computer is running OSX or Windows... it's still a computer with a keyboard and a monitor and you use it for exactly the same thing.... no, no, don't give me that Apple Mystique bull about how you use Windows for office work and Apple for graphics applications. They have the same processors, graphics cards, and they both run Photoshop pretty darn fast now, buddy. The only difference is that you aren't shackled to tech support at the Apple Store when you buy a Windows machine.
Since you're talking about two rivals trying to do the exact same thing, it only makes sense that the competition would imitate features that seem to work well with the other system. Laugh snarkily at Adobe InDesign for "ripping off" Quark Xpress? Should we laugh snarkily at OSX for "ripping off" several Linux distros? It isn't like Microsoft really hid their plans either. They announced early in the Vista project that they would be looking at the open source community for ideas.
So please, Pogue, and co. Please end this Cartmanesque smirking, it just isn't impressive, and also we all know that Apple has you brainwashed every which way. That isn't to say that Apple's aren't great machines running an fabulous OS. They are. They are good quality machines. Do they warrant the feeling of superiority or 1337ness? Well no, because they are barely different from Windows machines and they only recently dropped the craptacular motorola chips for the business strategy of selling people cutesy machines that can't be serviced unless you have $100 tools that are generally only owned by Apple Store service people.
Please don't take this as some kind of dumping on Apple to raise the saintly Microsoft. Microsoft has major annoying issues as well, but this whole "ha ha ha ha haaa ha, we did it before you did" BS coming from the Apple crowd is pretty ridiculous. They both ripped off the open source crowd. If Apple had the marketshare that MS enjoys currently, we would be talking about how horribly monopolistic Apple was instead of viceversa.
That aside, onto Vista. Vista feels a bit rushed, and rough around the edges, but I think that might be a result of the fact that they tried to cram so much into a single upgrade. Also note that Pogue and crowd point only to little looks things that were obviously taken from OSX. Pogue and other Apple shills have remarked only briefly on the memory management and new hardware interaction features that Vista brings to the table - which were largely borrowed from open source projects themselves. The idea that flash technology could be used to boost speed in desktops and laptops and conserve energy in laptops is a welcome addition to Windows.... that is they will be once the kinks get worked out. Overall Vista is perhaps not yet the best OS out there, but it most likely will become the top contender by late 2007/early 2008.