Microsoft will today launch Windows XP, its latest operating system built on Windows NT.

To celebrate the event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is in London attending the launch at the Royal Festival Hall.

Critics claim that many of XP's usability features are similar to those of Mac OS X. Apple remains widely credited with having designed the first user-friendly interface for personal computing.

X comparison In February, Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group, compared the Windows XP user interface to the Aqua interface in Apple's Mac OS X.

Enderle prophesied: "The capability is there to make it look like an Aqua clone. This is going to be a very Apple-like launch."

Docked XP's user interface offers icon-based access to features, with a taskbar at the bottom of the screen, which houses all the applications, documents and services available on a user's system.

Apple's Mac OS X Dock (in public use since September, 2000) offers an icon based interface at the bottom (or left or right) of the screen which can house all the applications, documents and services available on a user's Mac.

XP's Windows Media Player features DVD (digital versatile disk) playback, CD burning, and the ability to export video to portable devices. XP contains DirectShow Video Mixing Renderer, a video editing and playback tool that allows developers to create 3D video.

Apple standard All Apple systems ship with iMovie and iTunes, most offer built-in CD-burning, and some the capacity to play DVDs.

Other familiar-sounding features include Home Networking wizard, and management software that remembers log-in names and passwords for Web sites and servers (like Mac OS 9’s Keychain).

As in Mac OS, Windows XP can support multiple users on one computer. Users can create individual accounts on the system, each with customized settings.