In the early 2000s, Microsoft was secretly working on a theme for Windows Mac-inspired XP. In the alleged source code leaked to the web last week, a custom theme with a new look of buttons and windows resembled the then PC interface from Apple.
Named “Candy”, the custom theme had several similarities to the look of the system’s Apple in that period, the Aqua interface for Mac OS X. Steve Jobs’ company had presented the OS during the Conference & Expo in 2000, an event that was also marked by the comment “we made the icons on the screen so beautiful, that you will want to lick them”, made by the CEO.
With the images of The Verge, responsible for the discovery, it is not difficult to find the similarities: the installation window buttons are extremely similar, the upper window bars have been grayed out; but the window control buttons appear in neutral colors and in the original position of the Windows.
At the time, the introduction of Aqua caught the industry’s attention because it took advantage of several new elements — such as rounded corners, transparencies, shadows and different textures. According to the theme description itself, the look was distributed “for internal use only” and apparently served as an auxiliary theme during the creation of the “Custom Themes” feature of the Windows XP.
Customizing themes in Windows XP was a major milestone for the operating system, which now allowed third-party themes to be downloaded and introduced new layers of customization. The use of “Candy” based on Aqua underscores a common feature of the competition at the time, where companies seemed to “copy” features implemented in competing systems.
If the leaked source code really matches some version of Windows XP, we can guarantee that Microsoft followed closely the market trends — which, at the time, saw the care with the beauty of interfaces and menus.