Don’t believe everything you see about Windows 7

In the midst of all the hype around Windows 7 news and affairs, CrunchGear and TechCrunch shows us how gullible some bloggers (and readers) have become. I would like to direct your attention to exhibit number one.

CrunchGear with the offending imagery, claiming without a sigh of doubt these are real screenshots of Windows 7. Their followup update somehow insists a Microsoft employee has told them these are “older version of the concept renderings”, how deep down the rabbit-hole are they going? Note: I’ve reshifted some of the images around to be clearer.

TechCrunch gives them their “seal of approval”. At the time of writing, now 925,000 RSS subscribers have been told these are “real”.

An example of where the third-party mockups originated from.

And another. In fact, all of the images are third-party mockups except the “version screen” which is not very interesting to begin with. For an article claiming to have “a ton of … screen shots of the current build of Windows 7” this is pretty ridiculous.

I don’t have much to say except if you’re reading a site with advertising, the writers are usually funded by advertising revenue. Thus, it is always in the best interest of most paid-per-impression writers to publish articles which gets them eye-balls, ad impressions, and thus income. Some writers hold a higher level of integrity than others. Without excluding myself from this rule, take everything you see here and everywhere else with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Speaking of myself, I wonder what I wrote last Saturday. Oh wait, I know.

42 insightful thoughts

  1. i could not help myself and laugh at those screenshots, they are like what? one year old?.

    shame on them. win for you Long.

  2. Ugh, this is aweful.
    How can they believe these are actually real, and worse, assure their readers that they are.
    Someone should really slap them in the face 😛

  3. In my opinion, this is exactly what happened with Vista and Microsoft need to stop it now, people got on the Vista bandwagon way too early, literally straight after XP when they announced Longhorn, and now it’s happening again, people (mainly the sites shown here) have started the hype machine so early that pressure on Microsoft will be once again on to deliver, which is exactly what they don’t need, I do believe that what is the Windows team at the minute (I think it is the not so old Office 2007 team – I think I can quote Paul Thurrot on that one) doesn’t need pressure, they will be able to make something cool and new and exciting if we let them, there are so many old Longhorn concepts that show us that the team back then wanted to change the interface (some of the mock-ups are on this very blog) and press leaks and hype and yet more pressure (and the fact they went off track around the time of the famous code reset – leading to guess what? More pressure) they reset the code and gave us something very similar to Windows Server 2003 in the end, all those concepts, all those cool ideas and very few survived (Windows Search to an extent and Windows Sidebar are two examples).
    These sites need to be mature about this, Microsoft is not the Vatican, you do not need to be in the square waiting for the puff of smoke indicating change, and then posting it around the world, 7 is going to change in so many ways before we get it, the smoke will leak out plenty of times and it is going to be so different from all those mock-ups, Long I’m with you 100%, this is all for money, and all it does is create a bandwagon, and the only people left with this bandwagon in their garden are the people in Redmond.
    As you can tell it does get me pretty angry, take a look at the Mac platform, there isn’t much hype around Mac OS X 10.6 or Mac OS XI is there, why is that?

  4. Yeah, these shots are terrible 🙂 TheInquirer posted link for these shots for the first time. And everyone decided that it would have been a hot news 😛

  5. “I don’t have much to say except if you’re reading a site with advertising, the writers are usually funded by advertising revenue. Thus, it is always in the best interest of writers to publish articles which gets them eye-balls, ad impressions, and thus income. Some writers hold a higher level of integrity than others.”

    Long, I believe that’s a bit of a stretch.

    I’m a full-time freelance journalist who writes for several publications, including print (SMH, APC) and online (, and their Web sites all carry advertising. But for online yarns I don’t get paid by impressions: I get a flat rate per story. So it’s certainly not ‘always’ in my ‘best interest’ to do articles that attract eyeballs, clicks and cash. Yes, I like it when a story I’ve done gets lots of linkage, slashdotted and dugg, but that’s just professional ego — it doesn’t earn me any more money.

    Not saying there’s aren’t writers (staff as well as freelance) who aren’t click-whores — as you’ve said, “some writers hold a higher level of integrity than others” — but I don’t believe that you can draw a line that equates ad-supported sites with having lower editorial standards and QC than ad-free sites.

    That’s because ad-free sites aren’t fuelled by money — by their very nature they’re more likely to be an amateur activity, a hobby, a past-time. To my mind, this makes them just as susceptible to hype and low editorial QC standards as a professional site, but for different reasons: partly because they’re more likely to be the work of an ‘amateur’ (and I use the word in its nicest and strictest sense) but also because it’s purely an self-gratifying ego thing, to have one’s Web site run a yarn that gets lots of attention. If you’re not making any money from the site or the story at all, why else run it?

    But there’s no arguing the point you make about the screenshots, mate — I’ve reported on enough versions of Windows to know there’s many a slip ‘twixt the code and the ship, and the very long road to Longhorn remains the poster child for the UI being a moving target and features coming and going.

  6. @David: That’s a very good point and I’m glad you brought it up. I’ve corrected my post to say “…in the best interest of most paid-per-impression writers…”, but even then someone somewhere in the organization is managing the advertising revenue and of course the more the merrier. I mean personally I wouldn’t mind more advertising revenue either, and surely enough writing more posts with eye-balls will help me achieve that goal. Not necessarily bad, just a general observation.

    I also don’t want to equate ad-supported sites with lower editorial standards because it is pretty much impossible to find a site today without advertising. I have nothing against advertising, I don’t use any ad blockers or other ad-prevention applications, but it depends on how a site is structured. Whether it is an informative website with advertising, or an advertisement with information wrapped around it. Sometimes it’s easier to tell than others.

  7. Well this is something no company can avoid. Websites are filled with Apple rumors and people have come to realize that they are just “Rumors”, some where down the line people will realize the same about Microsoft and will only believe it when it’s from the horse’s mouth.

    They do it for hits, any publicity is good publicity, let’s face it, you posted this on your blog. I am pretty certain there will be readers who go to TechCrunch, result, they get what they want. Hits.

    On the other hand, these websites lose credibility when they make such loose claims and are caught in the act.

    PS: Nice find though.

  8. Look at the window icon for the “About” screen. It’s the default .Net icon 😉

    I doubt that Win7 will use .Net for its “About” screens.

  9. I left an abusive comment on Crunch Gear for you Long.

    @Nicko Darveniza
    Everyone cares about Mac OS X (especially the Microsoft Ideas and Innovation Team).

  10. It was a joke, and Microsoft Research – despite what people are lead to believe, are brilliant innovators. Plus, nobody seems to point out how much Leopard copied from Vista. So if people are gonna bitch about ideas Microsoft used from Mac OS, the should look at it from the other side too.

  11. Not to bitch, but we actually got these from a guy at Microsoft one of our writers plays kickball with. While they may have been mock-ups, they were apparently considered “real” enough to be passed on by someone in the company. We smokes what we gots.

    As for pay-per-impressions, that’s Denton, not us. I pay my guys by not beating them.

  12. @John Biggs: I want to thank you for coming on the site and writing a comment with an explanation, but I think no matter what the source is/was, there should be some sort of accountability and self-moderation on behalf of the writers when they publish these onto “hundreds of thousands” of potential readers. The Microsoft employee might have mistaken but pushing blame around is not the way to go.

  13. Biggs, you can try and play the blame game all you want but the truth is your site and others like it (Engadget, Gizmodo, etc) do this all the bloody time. People say reporters and the like in the real world mainstream media have no integrity and the like but the truth is, you self-righteous bloggers are far worse, relatively, of course.

    Oh, and look at the original wording, ‘without a doubt these are Windows 7’ – hahah, blame game, go! What makes it worse is you people were dumb enough to think they were real.

    You still haven’t updated your post with a correction and I’d love to know who your “Microsoft rep” is who pointed out they were old concepts. More blatant lies but luckily, you have enough dumb, ‘M$’ hating readers to believe your rubbish.

  14. Techcrunch has lost its edge.I have found that bigger the blog gets,heavier is its fall.
    Cnet is another example,It has become a joke.
    More and more stuff on techcrunch i found to be arrogantly written,its like ,this is what i know so believe it or shove it.

  15. *sigh* This is ridiculous. This is how stupid rumors are started, and it’s because of similar situations that Vista’s image was tarnished. Now that people think these are real, people will expect to see that UI. And then in a year or two when they see it looks nothing like that, they’ll blame Microsoft for cutting features again and creating a Vista 2.0

  16. Many bloggers have just started to taken advantage of writing anything they feel like about Microsoft and its product. And all this just to get a hit on the social media. Only this has made the negative impact on Microsoft. If I was Microsoft I would have sued them all. Its time somebody should come forward to take a stand against all the negative image created by the press and unethical bloggers…

  17. Nice, Long. I’m glad you’ve pointed these people out. I remember this stuff happening back in the old days of Longhorn; only back then, there were actually very few credible sites where you knew if something didn’t come down the tubes via their site, it was probably fake. Now, everyone and their grandmother has a blog and that opens up the potential for anyone to say anything and yeah. It seems there really are very few people (relatively speaking) who really know what they’re looking at or look at it without thinking it’s immediately true. This is where people like us need to come in. I may mirror this post of yours if you don’t mind, Long. I don’t get anywhere near the number of hits you do but I’m as against this kind of content as you are.

  18. I posted these screenshots yesterday as well, but I called them fake. I was quite surprised to see TechCrunch post them as well and call them real 😛

  19. I agree that MS should stop leaking pictures or new ideas they wanna put into the new OS or anything else.
    If they raise the expectations people would be unhappy with the results if they were below the given standard.
    And they should speak up every now and then in these forums who claim they have pictures of their new technology look-alike just to tell people that these guys are lairs and only after high ratings to their websites.

  20. Of course users should not believe everything but I think true Microsoft/Windows enthusiasts know they’re fake and when they’re real.

  21. I knew these were fake. This I knew more then that the demo would be a multitouch demo (I knew that as soon as I read on the D6 site that it was to be an interface demo, but that was just my hunch). How did I know that these were all fake?

    1. The UI from one screen to the next wasn’t consistant at all. This was the most obvious and the biggest insult to my intelligence. Who do they expect to believe this?
    2. Multiple docks. It would be bad enough to copy Apple when you have a UI element that already works, and works better, but to have two of them? How stupid does this site think we are?
    3. Old Screens. Some of these I’ve seen before. They were fake then.

    There are other methods to tell when screens are faked, but this was the worse faking I’ve seen in a very, very long time.

  22. @Long: Opps… Almost forgot; Long, when are you going to post your speculation on what the demo means for Windows?

  23. The demo reminds me that Windows 7 will definitely have an improved, more feature filled Paint. It will have scales & a lot more buttons, shapes and other misc options which are too blurry to make out in the screen shots, I blogged about it recently after the conf was over.

  24. Dam my proof reading skills! I was meant to say…
    Oh wow Apple news sites are posting this bull now! .They are always looking for an excuse to bash Windows and Microsoft. Seriously, I use a macbook and I use a PC, however Apple fanboys piss me off!…

  25. The saying is “a pinch of salt,” not “a pinch of salt and pepper.”

    And good catch on the fake screenshots.

  26. Look at the Windows fanboys fighting to deny that the Windows 7 interface is STOLEN. Except not from Mac OS X like the Macboys whine about, but kde: Oooh, my turn! I love tearing up Winbloat user’s dreams of Windows 7. Lets go!

    KDE 4 vs. Windows 7 GUI:

    Guess what, morons: Microsoft is NEVER innovative. Stop thinkign Windows 7 has anything innovative, it stole most its features from other operating systems, especially Linux.

    And you’re STILL under the archaic and limited drive letter system, swap files, and fragment. Microsoft ignored the gaping flaws in Windows and steals from other operating systems so that you deluded fanboys can think they’re actually creating something. Get a damn clue.

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