While the Mac community has been chortling over a supposed Microsoft admission that Windows 7 copies the Mac OS X look and feel, the company decided to set the record straight, or at least provide a more official comment about this claim:
An inaccurate quote has been floating around the Internet today about the design origins of Windows 7 and whether its look and feel was “borrowed” from Mac OS X. Unfortunately this came from a Microsoft employee who was not involved in any aspect of designing Windows 7. I hate to say this about one of our own, but his comments were inaccurate and uninformed. If you’re interested in learning more about the design of Windows 7, I suggest reading this AP story with Julie Larson-Green as well as these WSJ (membership required) and Fast Company articles. And here is one of many blog posts on the E7 blog discussing the design process of Windows 7.
That said, there is little doubt that Windows has followed Mac OS X into the world of hardware-backed transparent graphical effects in their respective UIs. And anyone who believes that the Windows 7 taskbar is anything other than a copy of the Mac OS X Dock just isn't paying attention.