Exclusive: PDC Attendees to Get Aero Demo Only
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September 28, 2003
Exclusive: PDC Attendees to Get Aero Demo Only
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Because Microsoft wants to maintain its competitive advantage during the next 2 years while the company preps Windows Longhorn for release, Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2003 attendees won't get the code for Aero, Longhorn's exciting and innovative GUI. Instead, attendees will receive a special Longhorn build that has the Aero bits removed, and Microsoft executives will provide only a special demonstration preview of Aero during Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates's keynote address. I've now verified these plans with several sources at and close to Microsoft.

   "[Until early September] Microsoft wasn't sure whether it would just demo Aero or supply it to PDC attendees," one source told me recently. Microsoft made the decision to demonstrate Aero only because of the long delay between PDC 2003 and Longhorn's final release, which is set for late 2005. If the company released all its UI work now, its OS competitors--such as Apple Computer and various companies and organizations in the Linux camp, all of which have fewer customers and faster release cycles than Microsoft--would be able to clone the Longhorn work before the OS's release. This problem has dogged Microsoft in the past, the most recent example being Apple's Expose technology, which will ship in Mac OS X 10.3 late this year. Microsoft has been demonstrating Expose-like technology for years now, but the technology won't show up in Windows until the Longhorn release at the earliest.

   Despite the absence of Aero, the code that PDC 2003 attendees will receive is intriguing. For the past several weeks, Microsoft has forked the Longhorn code to develop a special PDC build that's separate and distinct from the main code fork. This build will include virtually every Longhorn technology except Aero and will feature a new, darker theme that supplants the alpha Longhorn builds' lackluster Plex visual style. Microsoft is struggling to complete this special build in time for the show, which will be held in Los Angeles in late October. I'll provide more information about PDC 2003 and the special Longhorn build as it becomes available.

Reader Comments
"demonstrating for years" ???
What, for an example, please? I have never seen something like Expose before...

Stike September 28, 2003


The mention of how Microsoft has been demonstrating Expose like technology really caught my attention. I've never heard or seen any of this technology can you, or some provide proof that Microsoft has indeed been developing this technology?


Editor's note: Well, they did publicly demonstrate it at WinHEC this year (early May). But it's been around for years before that. --Paul

Deren Smith September 28, 2003


The forum says::

Some things I'm reading here are a little disturbing. People have said two things; 1) Apple didn't copy this! 2) If Apple did, it's OK because MS has done it many times in the past. Some are saying both in one breath to cover all the bases.

It just seems wrong to make either stance without proof either way. What are they talking about that Apple has ripped off? Is there any basis for it? Why haven't we heard this before? I am holding off my thoughts until we have proof. Taking a any position without more facts is just as bad as this website making claims they didn't back up.

Well, it's easy to have fast release cycles when you have a fundamentally secure and solid foundation. When you have to go back and fix a million or so lines of OS just to make it work, that is where it takes time...

This site looks so pro-M$, it makes me sick. Like others have said, even if Apple ripped this off of M$, just consider it payback.

It kills me that M$ has an amazing OS sitting out there, and they can't seem to copy it well enough...

good luck next time...

Jerry Lee September 29, 2003


So there's no chance Apple were developing Expose in isolation from MS and just finished first?
I'd suggest you need to be a little less biased, but given the overall site content there's little point.


Editor's note: Given that MS had been working on this for years and Apple suddenly and unexpectedly announced Expose in June, no, I don't think that's possible. --Paul

Anonymous September 29, 2003


Poor Microsoft. Apple's relentless copying of their exciting technology is obviously killing the market share and profitability of the world's largest company.


Editor's note: You drip with sarcasm, but this is actually a huge issue. It's not just Apple doing it, of course. --Paul

Wendy Rebecc September 29, 2003


What "Expose-like" technology has Microsoft ever demoed? Honest question; I've followed Microsoft for some years, and this is the first I've heard of anything like this. The demonstration at WinHEC does not seem to have been particularly Expose-like, and you seem to have no evidence of it being shown any earlier than this.


Editor's note: How do you know what I have? This technology has been around for a while. WinHEC is just the most recent public demonstration, and one to which I was personally present. I have a decent photo of it, which I'll try and post soon. --Paul

Millennium September 29, 2003


Strike : "I have never seen something like Expose before... "

You have never seen something like ANY Microsoft technology before. Period!
The blinkers on your eyes are big enough to prevent any horse from seeing where they are going to for years!

Lets face it, CRAPPLE's Mac was founded on STOLEN technology from XEROX PARC. CRAPPLE stealing Expose technology from Microsoft would merely continue a very long CRAPPLE tradition of stealing anything that is not bolted down.
Steve Jobs hoodwinks the CRAPPLE fanatics again!

Smithy September 29, 2003


Watch "Pirates of Silicon Valley" and you'll see why Apple has no problems stealing technology from Microsoft. Its anybodys guess. I'm sure if you ask Steve Jobs, Microsoft stole thier Expose technology. But, in the end, yes I do use Windows.

Joe Fredriksen September 29, 2003


He he he.

Exposé works because of Quartz. Apple have had this display layer in the OS since day 1. Windows have nothing similar. Apple released Quartz Extreme, which uses the graphics card to composit video in 10.2. Windows have nothing similar, although it's scheduled in Longhorn. In over a year.

He he.

MS demos something in May for the first time (uh 'years' huh?) and in under a month Apple have their version ready to ship in beta. BETA.


Editor's note: The Windows version hasn't shipped yet because Windows doesn't yet support high DPI displays. That will come in Longhorn, in over two years, actually. Apple has a huge time-to-market advantage, thus the secrecy over Longhorn/Aero. --Paul

You are on drugs.

Harald September 29, 2003


What's all this about Expose? Expose is a weak replacement for Tile/Minimize/Cascade. We go back to function keys for basic window management. Please.

I would say if MS is trying to keep Aero a secret, it's because no one has actually taken advantage of a hardware accelerated UI in a meaningful way.

Tekridr September 29, 2003


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