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11004 - Why Hire a Designer When You can Plagiarize for Free? (6 July1999)

by - Joseph Ganci

Apple copies Xerox look and feel. Microsoft copies Apple software look and feel. Future Power copies Apple hardware look and feel. Why?

It depends on how you want to look at it. Certainly, this is a clear case of wanting to copy another's successful design. The same thing has happened over and over with other products, things we use in our homes (and on the road).

Still, it's all very interesting when we see how much of Apple the PC world has resisted, then copied over the years. I still can't remember the awkward combination of keys necessary for copy, cut, and paste that existed in Windows 3.0 and earlier. They wisely copied Apple later on that count. Of course, the mouse, icons, etc. etc., were copied as well.

BUT let's not forget that while Microsoft may have copied Apple on many things, Apple copied Xerox first. Xerox were the original innovators and inventors - it's just too bad they didn't recognize the market potential for their products.

The only reason this really smacks of out-and-out plagiarism is that Apple FINALLY did something to win back a little market share and this other company is horning in on the look of the box. And there are MANY consumers out there who aren't computer savvy enough to look beyond the appearance of the machine. It reminds me of a few years back when I asked a teenager who had just acquired a new drivers license what kind of car she had been saving her money for. Her answer? "A red one!"

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