Contemporary Mac OS X has more in common with NeXTSTEP than with classic Mac OS. When it was obvious that classic Mac OS design has limitation which cannot be overcome, and after several failed internal replacement projects at Apple (including the infamous Copland), the company started looking outside. When it was almost certain that BeOS will serve as a framework for the new OS, Apple surprised everyone by buying out NeXT, Inc., and using their operating system. BeOS was allegedly too limited (it couldn’t even print!) and too expensive. OS/2 and Windows NT were also considered alternatives, as both had PowerPC versions at the time.
In 1983, Microsoft was in talks with Atari (specifically, Leonard Tramiel, son of the famous Jack Tramiel) to sell the upcoming Windows as the ST’s operating system. However, Windows was then two years away, and Atari decided to go with Digital Research’s GEM.
The icons for Windows Vista will reportedly convey over 1500 times more data (but not information!) than icons for original Macintosh System (196608 vs. 128 bytes each).
To promote Windows 1.0, Microsoft sent out a press kit featuring... a cotton washcloth to clean windows.
To prototype and test various Chicago (Windows 95) interfaces, Microsoft used their Visual Basic 3 tool.
Windows 1.0 was released only to be pulled out after two weeks and replaced by Windows 1.01. The reason for the recall was rumoured to be a major bug. As a result, the original 1.0 version is very hard to come across.
Windows XP icons were created in part by the design studio at IconFactory. Unfortunately, the team was not hired to redo all the icons, hence many inconsistencies between them.
Write and Paint were originally thought to be bundled with Windows 1.0 only as a promotional offer, similarly to what Apple did with original Macintosh. However, both Paint and Write (and its successor, WordPad) are included with Windows to this date.