Friday, September 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm.

The exciting new Microsoft: Finally, not just ripping off Apple

As an early Mac user, it was amusing and frustrating to watch Microsoft copy so much of Apple’s look — and often so poorly — yet have so much more financial success with it. Apple usually kept a good spirit about it, such as this famous video from 2006 of Apple exec Bertrand Serlet making fun of Windows Vista for looking like a Mac:

But there seems to be a new, post-Zune Microsoft m.o., and the best evidence seems to be the “Metro” user interface that is part of Windows 8. (And is already part of Windows Phone 7.)

Microsoft Metro

Not only is it clean and attractive, but it is original — both in how it looks and how it works. “No accusations of ripping off the iPad here,” John Gruber writes. “Microsoft is admirably blazing its own trail.”

That’s not to say that Microsoft won’t figure out a way to screw up Metro and Windows 8. Nor will Windows 8 tablets necessarily be a commercial hit as big as the iPad. But it is nice to be able to say that Microsoft is finally doing something original and not just ripping off Apple. I look forward to seeing more of what’s next.

Related: Amazingly, Microsoft might not miss the boat on tablets