Smug Apple devotees have been given ammunition to feel even more superior about Mac OS X after a Microsoft executive apparently admitted that Windows 7 drew design inspiration from Apple's operating system. (update: Microsoft u-turn: Windows 7 didn't copy Mac OS X)

Microsoft's partner group manager Simon Aldous told IT channel magazine PCR that the software giant tried to "create a Mac look and feel in terms of graphics" when designing Windows 7.

Aldous said Microsoft had "tried to listen to what customers want in terms of a much slicker user interface and the ability to engage with it far more intuitively".

"One of the things that people say an awful lot about the Apple Mac is that the OS is fantastic, that it's very graphical and easy to use."

Windows 7 interface

However the Microsoft executive wasn't prepared to let Mac fans have it all their own way, claiming Windows is more stable than OS X.

"We've significantly improved the graphical user interface, but it's built on that very stable core Vista technology, which is far more stable than the current Mac platform, for instance," he said.

Microsoft's Windows OSes have lost market share over the past several months to Apple, according to data tracker Net Applications. Microsoft's share of the OS market dropped to 92.55 percent at the end of October, compared to 93.66 percent in January. Apple's share has increased to 5.27 percent from 4.71 percent. Linux and other OSs make up the remainder of the market.

However, the release of Windows 7 could reverse that trend.

The software giant says Windows 7 has been doing well in the market since it launched three weeks ago. "We've heard positive things from our partners," said Steve Guggenheimer, vice president for OEM sales at Microsoft, on the sidelines of a news conference in Taipei. He said it's too early to say what Windows 7 sales look like.

See also:

Windows 7 review