It's Apple, not Microsoft, whose products have long been known for careful minimalism. However, Redmond is evolving, relying heavier on Metro, the simple, design philosophy marked by simple typography and big blocks of color that is infiltrating most of its platforms.
But that's not to say it's not kind of shitting on Apple. In a recent chat about Metro, long-time employee Jeff Fong of the Windows Phone design team claimed Apple had nothing to do with Microsoft's principles, though he made some very pointed references to Cupertino, while referring to Microsoft as "authentically digital."
"It's all about honesty. Taking your icons and taking things you have on screen and giving them glassy reflections, drop shadows, transparency… I think we can do a better job… in a more direct way."
Essentially, Fong was vaguely criticizing Apple's use of Skeuomorphism, in which real-life objects are insinuated in digital products. For example, folders look like actual files. Though it isn't always that subtle. Microsoft is distancing itself from Apple by claiming to reject this philosophy.
And Microsoft is banking big on Metro, reinventing itself with this massive redesign, ahead of the debut of Windows 8, which is arguably the most significant retooling of an operating system literally used by billions of people since the first version appeared in 1985. [Mashable]