Gosh I want to cheer for microsoft but they make it real hard.
The idea of a monolithic website like Apple's or Google's just doesn't apply. It's not part of Microsoft's DNA. Compare:
Other than white backgrounds, it's not very consistent.
IBM is a consulting company and courts mid- to upper-level manager types with purchasing authority. After few seconds on the page you are invited to speak with a sales consultant via a popup.
Apple is focused exclusively on the (premium) consumer space.
Both companies represent top-down totalitarianism (I say this without value-connotation): IBM suggest corporate command and control, Apple has a well-curated walled garden.
Microsoft's site reminds me of one of the more effective university websites.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of those companies except as a consumer. My iPhone is my favorite toy.
This serves them well in the Enterprise, where every installation requires customisations (and people can afford to pay for the maintenance of those customisations) but spills over into everything they do, meaning they cannot keep things simple.
The Kin is a case study in everything that's wrong with Microsoft as a company.
In-fighting and turf wars, discarding products they bought up (e.g., Danger) to shoehorn in Microsoft technologies while failing to leverage their own technologies in places where they'd make sense, lack of a cohesive corporate vision, the list goes on.
Ars had a pretty decent post-mortem of the project.
If you're going to go after a very varied audience you should probably think carefully about whether you need to have lots of sub brands (e.g. Proctor & Gamble) so that your customers simply google for the sub brand, or whether you actually can attach some core values onto the parent brand that will be meaningful in all these different markets (e.g. Virgin or Disney). It's no good having a scatter gun product strategy then neglecting your branding and online presence because you sell to everyone everywhere.
Keep in mind neither IBM or Apple had a 20% rate of employee millionaires in 1992.
In HN terms, Microsoft's website[s] is[are] great as MVP's and improvements thereupon.
On the other hand, in terms of Apple's ex cathedra philosophy, then perhaps, yes it[they] is[are] bad.
That was mind-breaking. My brain processed it as, "yes it they is er, what are aaaaah bad".
Metro is actually innovative, yet not ideal for desktop PCs. And it´s just the same with the new Logo: Strict simplicity (which makes Apple great), but not thought through in a way.
To me it feels like there´s a gatekeeper at the top missing asking the tough questions before the product is out of the door. The one that asks: "But does it really make sense and how can we do better" when the managers self-congratulate themselves on the bold moves.
Not to mention it won't even load for me; I guess they don't cache this stuff either.
Why are Apple, IBM, Amazon, Google doing it if it's such a terrible design?
How do you think they picked which language to serve me in the first place? ;) What you're saying is true about eliminating ambiguity but parent commenter just linked to microsoft.com.
When I had to do this for a site, the waterfall I settled on was:
1. Did they just manually pick a language/is it in the URL? (serve that language, set cookie)
2. Do they have a cookie? (serve that language)
3. Do we support any of their Accept-Language prefs? (serve that language, set cookie)
4. Serve en-us (fallback)
EDIT: oops, changing my language to ``es``, clearing cookies & revisiting microsoft.com didn't change the language. I guess they are just serving everyone at .com English :p
The indexability is an interesting argument, but my response is that there should be a standard mechanism to query, via HTTP OPTIONS, in which languages a resource is available. By doing so, a user agent or search engine can easily index all versions of a resource.
Whether or not such a standard exists I do not know, but Google certainly has the clout to standardize such a mechanism (viz. sitemaps and #!).
For example, maybe that latest product announcement hasn't been translated to French yet. If I send a product list URL to my french-speaking buddy, should the product disappear from the product list?
What I find interesting is that the new logo is not on the en-gb or fr-fr pages in the header bar and they use the old Microsoft trademark typeface. They also use the old Windows logo on, it seems, all but the en-us page. Complete mess in terms of brand presentation.
I thought of that too, but that's sort of like Toyota advertising what sort of engine a car has by leaving the muffler off of all the showroom models. Gearheads can tell the engine by the cacophony in the showroom lot, but everyone else will get the impression that Toyota's cars are noisy.
I'm not convinced that normal people care at all about the addition of a few characters in a URL that gives away what tech stack its working on.
For example: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/tt0cf3sx
Accept-Language is trivial to change; on Opera, it's one of the three things on the first tab of Preferences, and I can set it for all sites rather than on a per-site basis.
The content is (should be) identical, and the recipient of your link would most likely want to read the content in his/her preferred language.
If you really wanted to point out to them some discrepancy in the content of some particular language, then just tell them "switch your language to Chinese and look at xxx here".
On sites where linking to a particular language version of some resource makes sense (e.g. Wikipedia), by all means, accept a ?lang=de parameter… it's exactly as much mechanism as a directory component, but it doesn't imply any hierarchical structure, and can be dropped to obtain a "canonical" URL.
Also, language versions of big websites often differ hierarchically as well, with the differences in hierarchy being directly bound to the language. On Wikipedia, the problem is so big that it is actually moved to the domain (the highest level of the hierarchy).
(should be): yes. It should be. In the ideal world of people that constructed RFCs. Sadly, there is a real world out there.
In the end, with my users hat on: I don't care. I want to send a link and I assume that my peer sees exactly what I see. I don't want to care about the details of your technical implementation of your website and whether it is structurally sound in the grand scheme of the interwebs. I also don't want to say "and switch to..." every time I send a link.
Microsoft isn't the only website that does this. It seems like most websites use the URL to specify this kind of thing.
But the top bar could be a few times thicker. It's too cramped. I tried a quick hack increasing the min-height attribute on hpHdr_PriRow to 50px, which gives much nicer proportions.
* In Chrome, the carousel controls at the top right are cut off. Intentional?
* The "For home" and "For work" buttons on the right shrink the margins between themselves and the carousel on hover but never quite bridge the gap, which looks awkward to my eye.
* The carousel is gigantic and hides all the content below it on all but the largest screen resolutions (and I thought Windows 8 is supposed to be running on small portable tablets?).
* The top menu under the logo is extremely cheesy with its thin 1px border on hover, never mind that it's next to invisible next to that massive carousel. When it comes to actually navigating the site to getting the user to Microsoft's products, this menu is failure.
Generally, the entire layout feels a bit like the team that's been responsible for the page for years has been told to 'clone' the newest UI to the best of their abilities.
Intentional, it's the same in every other browser. It's similar to Internet Explorer's new back and forward buttons.
Of course, it's not like Microsoft EVER had a decent or even remotely stylish logo. The bigger concern I would have over the logo is the website, which is amateurish. Honestly, if I did not know this was Microsoft, I would think it was a startup company that paid $50 for a website template, as you stated, and not a very good one.
I think Microsoft is doing a great job of trading on the emotional value of colors. Apple rebuilt their company by bringing color to computing (remember the iMac and iBook), but then went away from that in almost every way, sucking the color out of all their products except for a few iPods. It's very sleek and elegant, but let's face it, colors are fun too.
Well, at least that's over now.
> made money by the truckload when other companies
> could barely survive
Microsoft's domination was achieved by making passable-to-excellent browsers in the beginning and putting them on the desktop, which made the web more accessible to millions of people, boosted commerce, and pushed feature development forward much more quickly than Netscape (or any company) would have done absent competition. Bigger market, bigger pie, more investment, more jobs, more consumers.
Netscape died, of course. But it didn't have to be that way; and Microsoft won far more than Netscape lost.
That said, in those days the web wasn't yet a big deal, and wouldn't be for another couple of years. I don't see how MS "boosted commerce" at all during this timeframe, either. By the time the web became accessible to the multitudes, and was being used for commerce MS already dominated the browser market.
In fact, another current HN article right now details all that IE4 innovated: http://www.nczonline.net/blog/2012/08/22/the-innovations-of-...
IE3 started Netscape's decline, but it really picked up in the couple years after IE4's release (1998-2000).
All that competition, the proliferation of features, the new ecosystems of dev tools, new jobs as companies saw the Internet taking off with MS's weight behind it, the press about the browser wars, being able to click the desktop "Internet" icon on your new computer and see well-rendered and fast websites... to state that none of that actually grew web usage and that MS just took NS's users 1-for-1 is unbelievable to me.
MS made a better browser and put it in front of everyone's face while simultaneously convincing lots of companies to join the fray. The pie exploded.
> The market wasn't then, and isn't now, zero-sum.
The marketshare numbers you see are percentages. Say Netscape has 80% of the market of 1M people, and IE4 is popular enough that NS's share dwindles to 30% as IE's rises to 70%. If we're still dealing with 1M total users, the market is zero-sum in that NS's losses are exactly MS's gains.
My contention is that IE4 was so good for its time that it grew the overall internet market; instead of 1M casual users, we have, say, 5M. If NS's marketshare fell from 80% of 1M to 30% of 5M, their user base actually went from 800K to 1.5M. IE4 killed them in share, but helped the overall market and Netscape in particular, by users and revenue.
To assert that it was a zero-sum game is to assert that the market was inelastic relative to the available browsers, which seems ridiculous. Better browsers = more users.
Now that your phone, your music player, your computer, your notebook, your tablet, your game console(s), your television and your video playback device all need an OS, I'm guessing the number of operating systems people use on a daily basis is higher than you think.
It actually reminds me very much of the Wii logo.
It's just that it's... only fine.
It's perfect for Microsoft!
Also, the controls on the carousel are off.
This is not just fanboy hate, but for a company the size of Microsoft, their homepage should matter. These two examples show that they just don't care.
Unrelated to this, I find the metro style interesting for touch devices, but adopting it as the look of the whole company dumbs down their entire product. Also, the font looks to me like a futurist Comic Sans.
: http://www.ditii.com/2012/05/22/github-windows-released-supp... (second image down)
Why on earth?
I am slightly colour blind.
The logo in the article I see just fine, and all of the squares are the same size. And I get it... Metro theme.
The favicon.ico and small logo on Microsoft.com
Those don't fair as well. The red and yellow squares are much larger than the green and blue, and my eyes see a throbbing line around the bottom and left of the red box, and a black line at the bottom of the blue box.
Now... I know that those boxes don't have those lines. For I know what the Metro style guide looks like. But there it is, the logo has not been viewed by anyone colour blind with the ability to have it modified. There should be more space between the boxes when it's shrunk.
The red box is literally 20% wider than the blue to my eyes.
You know how much of the population is colour blind? A very significant chunk.
Also... those colours... very bad choice. When you print this logo (greyscale), all of the colours come out too similar a shade of grey. There is no distinction between them.
Also, rounded corners on the favicon? It's ok to give these jobs to an intern but someone still should check the results before pushing them live.
And what with being slightly colour blind, I've learned to suspect that it is probably my vision that is the problem.
This has nothing to do with color-blindness, I can see it, too (I was non-color-blind enough for my driver's licence.)
Colour-blindness comes in a great many varieties, and to be honest, if you're making something involving colour, you're going to displease some of them.
And I personally believe that this could (and should) have been worked around in some way since about 7-10% of the population has some kind of color blindness.
I'm not bothered much by it, but I avoid, while making things, combinations that make this happen.
I don't know if it is because I am slightly color blind (on tests I can usually read maybe 1 of those blotted spots with letters/digits in them; http://www.toledo-bend.com/colorblind/Ishihara.asp => I can only see the top left one, which is the tester if you're not totally blind I think :), the rest is just random spots. People who don't have this issue might think I cannot see colors at all but I can; it's only in combination it might go wrong.), but it's worse when i'm tired.
The best freak show is a big squared 'tent', but with small squares of 2 horrible colors, like red + green/blue in bright power-saving-lights inside, for instance, a shopping mall and me not having had the best night sleep. Then I see these effects really well and actually have to move away from the offending object quite rapidly.
Edit: I mean 'checkered' not squared, so like http://www.schnittmuster-stoffe.de/images/product_images/pop... but then preferably plastic material, bad, bright colors and preferably so big I cannot look around it.
You could try on a different monitor.
1 x NEC MultiSync PA271W monitor
1 x Thinkpad X220 with IPS panel
Perhaps it is a result of the IPS panels in both? The NEC is a high-end monitor though and even with a cheaper IPS panel in the laptop I wouldn't expect to see any flaw that is the result of the monitor in the NEC.
My real questions are whether there will be a one-color variant, whether the symbol will be allowed to be displayed without the type, and how you could ever secure international trademark on four squares. My guess is that you'd have to be, well, Mircosoft. More than the logo designers, I'm really impressed by the legal team. My trademark lawyers would laugh at me.
Edit: fixed to read 'international trademark'
I'm just amazed that the colours are a rotation of Google's Favicon... Red Green Blue Yellow. (Alright so it's orange, not red.)
Is there any way to get a compressed google search URL that's not a redirect?
I wonder why Google chose those colours then? There was a rumour about their first server being made of various colours of lego bricks, but maybe someone put more thought into it...
Edit: found better res
On other hand, I'm still trying to grok why Twitter changed it's logo recently? Was something inherently being tarnished about the Twitter brand? As far as I know, the answer is NO.
I'm going to make a major assumption here, but I think it had to do with it being driven by a Creative Director and not by a Marketing (i.e. Business) person. The blog post and title at least reads that way.
Your assumptions about the reason for updating a brand are even wronger in the case of Twitter. They didn't update their brand because it was weak, quite the opposite. The twitter brand is currently so strong, it afforded them the unique opportunity to drop the words from their trademark and use just an icon. Twitter's rebranding was them stepping up to an exclusive club of the worlds most highly recognizable brands.
> it's not a sign of the apocalypse.
I'm sorry if I implied it's a sign of the apocalypse. I didn't mean it that way. The point is Microsoft has suffered greatly due to the massive success of Apple. This is no news to anyone. They're not going to die anytime soon, but they have a MASSIVE threat. The Wire's portrayal of the character's brand and that of Worldcom, are not a 1:1 match, I agree, but the theory is the same.
My point was to draw the real reasoning behind branding and why companies shift and update brands. I've personally been trapped in this before, and thought "God that logo looks like shit! That company, or my company, should change it! They would do so much better if they did!" Branding/Logo is about associations of an image with the company and its values. When the values of the company deteriorate, lack credibility, etc, than the association of the logo starts portraying those negative values (or lack thereof).
For example: How many people here think Google should change it's logo? The logo itself lacks any sort of design principles and very clearly was created by a techie with lack of graphic design. So why on earth hasn't Google changed it?
> Your assumptions about the reason for updating a brand are even wronger in the case of Twitter.Twitter's rebranding was them stepping up to an exclusive club of the worlds most highly recognizable brands.
I apologize, I wasn't aware that the logo before explicitly included the name. Regardless...
> Twitter's rebranding was them stepping up to an exclusive club of the worlds most highly recognizable brands.
8 of the top 10 brands in the world have their name in their logo... What exclusive club are you talking about?
 - http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/07/top_brands/source/1....
They have changed it. They subtly update it every couple years to keep the shading and the bevel in line with current trends.
In any case, you're either missing my point, or you're missing the point of the scene in the wire. That was about a brand escaping their old image. Microsoft isn't doing that. They're embracing their old image, celebrating their old brand, and remaining recognizable as who they were before, even though they had the new logo. That's pretty much the exact opposite of what worldcom and the barksdale crew were trying to do. If they wanted to escape their old image, now would be a perfect time to do it, with their most different products ever, but they are sticking by both the windows and the Microsoft brands.
Apparently not. They changed it once in 1999 (after its original in 1998) and again in 2010.
"The logo was the foundation for new icons and hundreds of tiny alterations designed to accommodate and seamlessly integrate the expanded functionality of the left-hand panel."
So they had a legitimate design reason for changing the logo, not based solely on the brand...
 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_logo
 - http://googleblog.blogspot.ro/2010/05/google-design-turned-u...
1. Coke (name only, stylized)
2. Microsoft (name only, but recently changed)
3. IBM (name only, slightly stylized)
4. GE (name in a circle)
5. Intel (name with a swoosh)
6. Nokia (name only)
7. Toyota (no text regularly)
8. Disney (name, highly stylized)
9. McDonalds (normally has name in logo)
10. Mercedez-Benz (no text regularly)
So, Toyota and Mercedez-Benz I discounted.
Rebranding is something that all companies do at varying times their lives. When you haven't done it in 25 years... yeah, it's probably time for a refresh. Trends change.
That would be mind baffling...
So, I think we both agree, the original logo lacks the previous associations of value and therefore needed to be changed/updated. People don't buy things because of a lack of newness or because they are deemed old. They buy based on utility (whether that's perceived or not is another question).
The XBox 360 is a great console, MS hardware is still top notch, Office is still Office and Exchange is still Exchange. Windows 7 has been widely well received, and IE 10 is on track to be the most compliant browser in the IE line.
They're also synergystically linked: if you're running on Windows, you're far more likely to want/need Office, and if you're using Office, you're far more likely to want Windows.
Crack either side of that diptych, and you've vastly undermined the business. Apple is attacking both. The OS through both its laptop and desktop (yes, you can still buy desktop Macs) offerings, but increasingly, mobile (iPhone, iPad, even iPod). Apple iWork is a competitor to Office, and some products (notably Keynote) are vastly superior to the Microsoft offerings.
Apple's not the only competition, of course. Google appear primed to take on more of the space as well (Google Apps, Android). And there's even Linux on the desktop. One of these years.
High end consumer products like Apple hardware most certainly have a certain fashion aspect which is important to remember when you considering why people make the purchase decisions that they do.
While that may be something that you do not value when purchasing hardware and gadgets (I know I do not value it highly at all either), there is certainly nothing fundamentally wrong with those that think otherwise.
edit: I retract that, Microsoft is doing the very same thing:
While I don't enjoy the perspective on the Windows 8 logo, I at least respect the single color. As usual, it doesn't seem like the right hand is talking to the left hand. I actually like the previous logo. It feels like it has some character and I'm not surprised it lasted 25 years. This new logo feels so damn generic, like a generic brand you would pick up at the grocery store...
* Compare to the active ingredients in Apple.
That said, I like the minimally minimal redesign much better.
What people don't seem to understand is that the price of a logo is not based on how it looks. Aesthetics have nothing to do with this. It's based on how much the ability to make sure that the entire system is implemented properly is worth to MS.
This is not a question about whether the logo "works for you".
The purpose of the logo is not to look pretty but to identify.
Sun changing their stock symbol to JAVA would be a better example.
Nothing says corporate dominance like thrash metal font.
That said, however, I like it. I'm a big fan of color, and, while not a big fan of Windows, I've always liked its logo. In fact, while I probably won't ever install or use it extensively, I've really been liking the bold, primary color design of Windows 8.
All in all, a big improvement!
Only one thing: I can't believe it doesn't render properly in mobile safari on MS home page! Bottom line gets clipped...
Apple icons are glossy this is flat. The icons on an iPad/iPod are small glossy "chicklets" but on Win8 they are flat and large tiles; no black space.
I like the look and the design it's a nice change, as for the inner workings of the OS I have no idea since I only used it briefly in a (non-touchscreen) VM.
I think it is a tremendous disservice to the amount of work that went into the Metro (or whatever it's called now) interface to describe it as an anti-Apple reaction. It isn't, and not everyone in the tech world bases their entire business around what Apple is or is not doing. It wasn't created to spite the memory of Steve Jobs.
A great quote I heard once (not sure who) to paraphrase: Trying to be as good as your competition just makes you equals. To be better you have to exceed beyond what is being done.
Versus Holo in Android, the beauty of Metro or whatever it's called, even GNOME3 and Elementary OS are embracing a minimal, flat-ish design
Not that is not true since a decade ago but it might reduce the chances in the future to make a turn around. Apple did remove "Computer" from his name to make space to iOS devices and to me Microsoft is doing the opposite... let's see how it goes, at least they are working hard to refresh their selves and that's good for the industry.
Zune (where I saw it for the first time) failed in the market. Windows Mobile (that has the Metro theme) failed in the market. Now I don't know XBox (at all) and its GUI, but its success happened long before Metro was created.
People don't seem to like it in the new Windows preview all that much, either.
Why the big bet on Metro?
I personally love Metro, and I'm not the only one in my circle of friends. I accept that not everyone likes it, but I really prefer a text driven design like Metro.
I think Microsoft gets that Apple doesn't allow itself to be driven by focus groups, but instead they allow random insane people to drive them.
IIRC, it was an experiment in gameification and Office and the ribbon was the thing that was new at the time, and it made sense to write it on top of teaching users the new UI.
While we're throwing around anecdotes on how incomprehensible ribbon is, I know plenty of people who are totally fine with it. I don't really use any MS products (and so never encounter it) and don't have an opinion on it, but I think phrases like "no-one likes it, so they shoehorn it into more places" are neither true nor even potentially valid (no one likes it so they use it more because... they're evil? They want you to hate them?)
Haha man what losers. That'd be like using solitaire and minesweeper to teach the mouse.
I mean, it's not the current Windows 8 logo, nor the Windows 7 logo. It's a merge of both worlds: Old logo with Win8 colors.
Are they planning to change it in the very last second? (I don't think so) Or do they want to make a slow transition between the old and the new Windows logo?
Or... probably, according to Occam's razor, someone just failed to put the right logo there.
Does every marketing exec have to say that about their new logo? Must be the same effect as sports players saying "We just gave it 110%" when they win.
Re-adopting the 1980-1981 logo would send a signal that I would love to hear. That Microsoft is rebooting Microsoft and that things are going to be new and fun again.
Though I've never had much love for Redmond despite using their products for 20+ years, since they feel like an underdog now I instinctively want to cheer for them. But, like someone said in another post, they sure make it difficult.
The unsolicited redesign "slate" logo is cool too:
Does your secretary need a touchscreen?
MS's last remaining market is business. As others bring to business the old power of UNIX, for less cost, and repackaged with now commonplace buzzwords like "opensource", "linux", and "cloud", MS is in big trouble. For most of the business world, software is an expense, not an asset. Inexpensive wins.
But those guys who could say "FU" in 1992, why should they care? MS has had a GREAT run.
Freshness? The most underwhelming design "innovation" yet... Playing it safe, boring, square as ever.
 http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/telecom_... - the one on the left.
Problem is, I'm pretty sure "Altria" was trying to be generic and forgettable.
See also: BP, Walmart
I guess this is the official launch.
Picture of logo already available in the article.
Segoe looks good in its intended use for text on screen, and printed text at small and normal sizes, but Segoe does not look good at very large sizes.
When this logo appears on billboards, and in other large display settings, its weaknesses will become apparent.