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A New Microsoft After 25 Years

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Over the past couple of years, software giant Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) has been doing something interesting: innovating.

It started with its Windows Phone operating system, discarding the legacy of Windows Mobile in favor of a new, innovative interface and design philosophy that the company dubbed "Metro." The interface was modern and sleek, and eventually had to be renamed, after a trademark spat with European retailer Metro Group. Regardless of what you call it, the interface is unarguably innovative.

This design style began to permeate throughout Microsoft’s product lines, as the company rebranded its core offerings. In February, Mr. Softy unveiled a new simpler, cleaner logo for Windows 8 in the same vein, similarly using flat shapes and solid colors.


Source: Official Windows Team Blog.

Then, Microsoft gave its other cash cow, Office, a similar logo makeover.


Source: Microsoft.

These branding changes have now culminated in Microsoft giving the entire company a new logo -- the first time the iconic bellwether has done so in 25 years since 1987. That was just a year after Microsoft went public in 1986, when the company took on its now-familiar logo, donning the same look for a quarter century.


Old Microsoft logo (top) vs. new Microsoft logo (bottom). Source: Microsoft.

In an interview with The Seattle Times, general manager of brand strategy Jeff Hansen said the move is meant to "signal the heritage but also signal the future -- a newness and freshness." Considering the bold direction the company is trying to take with Windows 8, Hansen added that Microsoft "felt it was a good time" for the redesign.

It might seem like a minor change, but branding is an important aspect of how a company communicates with consumers and the broader public. In a report a few months back, from brand consultancy Millward Brown, Microsoft’s brand value lagged several of its tech peers, including Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) , and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) .

2012 Rank Company 2012 Brand Value
1 Apple $182.95 billion
2 IBM $115.99 billion
3 Google $107.86 billion
5 Microsoft $76.65 billion
Source: Millward Brown (May 2012).

In an official blog post, Hansen expressed that the new logo also signifies the "era in which [Microsoft is] reimagining" its products. However, there’s still one thing left to do that would fully revitalize the underappreciated software giant, one that would truly signal the next era of Microsoft innovation: ditching Steve Ballmer.

For even more on why Microsoft truly is underappreciated relative to its earnings and cash-generation potential, grab a copy of this brand new premium report. Sign up today and you’ll get free updates included at no additional cost.


Fool contributor Evan Niuowns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines, Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in International Business Machines. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 23, 2012, at 8:48 PM, NathanOvercash wrote:

    The product that they are selling will still be undoubtedly made in Asian sweatshops. Why not increase American industry at home, where the consumer lives. Have the consumer as your employee instead of taking as many shortcuts as possible to create an extremely cheaply made product for the most profit possible, this ideology in business is extremely flawed. The economy is an endless cycle of production and consumption. But at the root of it all is employment for those to create the product you intend on selling. Well americans aren't receiving jobs as quickly as they should, supply and demand, and a loss in profit margin not revenue is just a temporary issue because the American consumer prefers American made products, not american businesses selling Chinese made products. Therefore you'll have an increase in sales and another issue with the products these guys sell is quality and durability everything is so cheaply made the slightest drop of the newest telephone destroys the screen. Not with the older phones. Often times major flaws are overlooked in the products that they sale that a recall is demanded but even more often than that would just be a newer model of the product with the last flaw fixed but a new one arises. These major design flaws in technology is preposterous since the consumer holds such high expectations for their product but are seriously disappointed in it themselves. People don't want to by a product that doesn't properly function. So please form to the businessman higher Americans so they have money to buy more of your products with actual quality that is assured and flaws shall never be overlooked. And hopefully the stocks will not only rise but balance out.

  • Report this Comment On August 23, 2012, at 9:20 PM, applefan1 wrote:

    Windows VIsta. Innovation? NOPE. FAILURE.

    Windows 98. Innovation? NOPE. FAILURE.

    Zune. Innovation? NOPE. FAILURE.

    Office. Innovation? NOPE. Progression.

    Internet Exploder. Innovation? NOPE. PILE OF JUNK.

    Metro. Innovation? NOPE, just a dumb interface with mixed reviews.

    Windows 7 Phone. Innovation? NOPE. FAILURE.

    What OS has Microsoft had that actually got 80%+ adoption rate within the first year of release?

    NONE that I know of. Why not? Because most didn't see much INNOVATION.

    Microsoft is just trying to figure out how t squeeze as much money as they can, they have to come out with 3 or more variations of these operating systems to OVERCHARGE for what Apple does normally.

    Cheap PCs Innovation? NO. DESPERATION.

  • Report this Comment On August 24, 2012, at 12:03 AM, tomgonz wrote:

    "Microsoft is just trying to figure out how t squeeze as much money as they can, they have to come out with 3 or more variations of these operating systems to OVERCHARGE for what Apple does normally."


    " Apple is just trying to figure out how t squeeze as much money as they can, they have to come out with 3 or more variations of smart phones to OVERCHARGE for what Microsoft does normally."

    They are all the same GREEDY

  • Report this Comment On August 24, 2012, at 4:28 AM, Clint35 wrote:

    Who came up with the name Metro anyway? That sounds stupid. They're lucky they had to give up that name. I bet Ballmer came up with it.

  • Report this Comment On August 24, 2012, at 7:27 PM, TheRealRacc wrote:

    Believe it or not, Microsoft and Apple can co-exist. Society is truly becoming sicker by the day.

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