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With a sneak peak all the way back in 2009 from PC World, we saw hints of Microsoft’s new brand. Yesterday the company unveiled their first official new Microsoft Logo in 25 years in preparation for Windows 8. Here is an excerpt from the official Microsoft Blog: “This is an incredibly exciting year for Microsoft as we prepare to release new versions of nearly all of our products.

From Windows 8 to Windows Phone 8 to Xbox services to the next version of Office, you will see a common look and feel across these products providing a familiar and seamless experience on PCs, phones, tablets and TVs. This wave of new releases is not only a reimagining of our most popular products, but also represents a new era for Microsoft, so our logo should evolve to visually accentuate this new beginning.

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“Starting today, you’ll see the new Microsoft logo being used prominently. It will be used on Microsoft.com – the 10th most visited website in the world. It is in three of our Microsoft retail stores today (Boston, Seattle’s University Village and Bellevue, Wash.) and will shine brightly in all our stores over the next few months.”

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Images: CNET

I wanted to love this new design and I don’t think that Microsoft 100% missed the mark. I like the minimalistic feel it gives as opposed to their previous clunky design. The Segoe font feels simple but it fits in with their current branding and the overall “Metro” style. The logo is inspired by the old iconic design yet it feels modern, new, crisp and clean. The problems with this refresh from a brand perspective are over-simplification and unoriginality.

While I appreciate the simplicity of it, it’s too simple. There’s nothing distinct about it. It’s 4 colored squares separated by a few pixels. Nothing more, nothing less. I think that Microsoft Designers may be playing with the Paint app a little bit too much. Blogger Helge Fahrnberger jokes that the logo could have been done in Excel:

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No, not really.

Now let’s talk about originality, or complete lack thereof. You might as well start calling them Applesoft. For starters, many critics are comparing and accusing Microsoft of stealing Apple’s Bootcamp Logo seen below:

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I’m not sure of the origins of the below but check out this Microsoft colored Bootcamp logo that 9to5 Mac Posted back in April of 2011:

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For those that don’t know, Bootcamp is software for installing an alternate operating system on an Intel-based Macintosh computer (i.e. Windows). On a side note, I wont even get into the fact that the Windows Marketplace branding is completely mirroring of Android’s work.

Considering the lack of imagination that the Microsoft Store has produced I’m not surprised with the new mark. Everything is so familiar. The bright plain t-shirts, the hanging nametags, the clean minimal feel, the light wooden accents, the mandatory “cool guy” jeans that their employees wear, The Icon only storefront. Even the name is exactly the same replacing Apple with Microsoft.

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The list goes on but I see nothing new. It all just feels like recycled Apple ideas circa 2008. Take a look at the employee uniforms alone. Keep in mind these are 4 years apart and two different competing companies:

Apple Store, 2008:

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Microsoft Store, 2012:

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I’m just glad Microsoft didn’t go off the deep end and finally get the need to simplify their process. At least, of all corporations they are copying Apple and heading in a better direction. What I think Microsoft fails to understand is the world doesn’t need another Apple, we need a progressive competitor. Microsoft should be a kitchen that’s constantly inventing recipes and cooking up new ideas to further leverage the computer industry. I hope they can one day stop playing “catch up” and start innovating their own personal brand with character.

 

Updates (8/26/12):

1. Thanks to a couple tipsters the Logo has been spotted in a Windows 95 Commercial! Check it out.

No more Bootcamp suspicion now!

2. Also it just occurred to me that the logo can be found directly within the OS interface:

Let us know what you think of the update!