Windows remains the dominant desktop operating system in terms of market share, which makes for a commonly Windows-centric worldview. It’s especially entertaining, then, to study various software applications that originated outside of the Windows biosphere (say, on the Macintosh) and then moved over to thrive in Microsoft’s domain.
Until roughly 1990, Microsoft Windows lacked both the technical sophistication and market reach to attract significant third-party applications, so for about half a decade, the Mac was the only serious GUI-based platform on the market.
Accordingly, a number of the most famous apps to make the Mac-Windows jump began as GUI-based reinterpretations of older software ideas, while others began as programs that could have only originated in a bitmapped computing environment like that of the Macintosh. We’ll take a look at a handful in this slideshow.
These are not the only famous apps to leap from Mac to Windows. A few others include Microsoft Works, QuarkXPress, and Digidesign Pro Tools. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments.
There is no doubt that many applications have made the jump the other way around—from Windows to Mac. But it’s almost always more interesting to trace the influences of the underdog on the dominant platform.