That Dastardly Steve! (1/10/00)

A few years back, you swooned at the sheer mercenariness of the End of Cloning. Last year you reeled in horror at the G4 Speed Dump. But now, ladies and gentlemen, we bring you the scandal to end all scandals: Aquagate!! Yes, by the time the terrible truth dawns upon you, your voluntary motor functions will spontaneously shut down and you'll wonder how you ever thought Apple's elimination of free lifetime tech support was such a big deal. It's that bad.

Now, we at AtAT oohed and aahed over Mac OS X's new Aqua interface during last week's keynote just like everyone else. But that was before faithful viewer Keith Lim pointed out that a small company called Stardock has a Windows product called Object Desktop. Object Desktop reworks the Windows interface to make it less... well, we suppose the most charitable way to put it would be "butt-ugly." Now take a look at this screenshot of Stardock's product in action and tell us whether or not it rings any bells.

Obviously what happened here was that Apple sent in corporate spies to infiltrate Stardock and swipe their interface. Think of it-- was anybody expecting Steve to unveil Mac OS X and its new look and feel? No. So why was it done? To beat Stardock to the punch! Stardock's press release announcing the Object Desktop Network is dated January 5th-- the same day as Steve's keynote. Obviously Apple just wanted to rush their cheap rip-off out the door so they could claim they were first. For shame-- we expect such behavior from certain companies in the Redmond area, but from Apple?

There's another possibility, we suppose; Stardock's slogan is "delivering software at the speed of thought!" Could they mean that literally? Maybe they saw Aqua at Steve's keynote and managed to build and release a complete Windows copy before the end of the day. That's certainly more plausible than a scenario as far-fetched as, say, Stardock getting access to pre-announcement Aqua screenshots, working up a product from their stolen intellectual property, and timing its release immediately after Aqua's first public showing so as not to be sued for trade secret violations. Only the truly paranoid could believe such a yarn...

SceneLink (2026)
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The above scene was taken from the 1/10/00 episode:

January 10, 2000: Aqua didn't just show up onstage with Steve last Wednesday-- it also emerged in a Windows product unveiled the very same day. Meanwhile, a CBS MarketWatch columnist presents evidence that Apple yearns to be more like Microsoft, and Steve Jobs threw a bit of a hissy fit over wristwatches at last week's show...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2027: Grasping At Straws (1/10/00)   Speaking of comparing Apple to Microsoft (let's hear it for that segue, folks! Give it a nice round of applause!), faithful viewers Jason Curtis and Russell Maggio both noted a CBS MarketWatch article which does just that...

  • 2028: Watch The Drama (1/10/00)   We knew there had to have been some serious drama at last week's Macworld Expo! Not having been present, though, we weren't able to sniff out the truly soap-operatic action ourselves; thank heaven for MacWEEK, who dug up a nice little nugget of melodrama that came to us courtesy of AppleLinks...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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