Dell Urged Microsoft to Avoid Confusing Windows Branding

Tom Warren, reporting for The Verge:

Dell executive Jeffrey Clarke has reportedly revealed that he urged Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to avoid using the Windows brand for the company's Windows RT operating system. The Australian Financial Review reports that Clarke said the new OS for ARM-based tablets should be called something other than Windows, but Ballmer insisted the brand was too important.

Considering Dell's comic affinity for confusing branding, the fact that Clarke spoke with Steve Ballmer on the topic speaks volumes.

The entire Microsoft ecosystem is mired with baffling branding, compounded by Microsoft's seeming inability to make any semblance of a firm decision regarding software mechanics, branding, and hardware. The lingering nature of the Windows brand is resounding evidence of a company too fearful to truly disrupt the status quo. 

For all of the colored squares and angular backdrops, Windows 8 and RT continue to be plagued by an extraordinary lack of foresight and self-control from within Microsoft. Considering the operating system no longer relies upon a windowed UI, the Windows moniker clearly remains only to coax consumers into a purchase.

Not only is this lazy, but it betrays a deep-seated lack of confidence within Microsoft. Steve Ballmer is evidently fearful of launching a new OS brand for fear of sacrificing customers — a fact which offers a scathing indictment of the affability, purpose, and longevity of Windows.

Consumers thrive upon confidence — a quality which is unquestionably bereft from Microsoft's branding and marketing rhetoric. As Mr. Warren wrote ten days ago, it's simply time for the WIndows brand to be retired. Without getting in front of that inevitable narrative, Microsoft will continue to castrate and embarrass itself in front of its consumer base.

Andrew Kim Rebrands Microsoft

Next Microsoft

Andrew Kim has produced an extensive, thoughtful, and thoroughly impressive rebranding of Microsoft. Although obviously unofficial, the expression of minimalistic tendencies, the simplification of product names, and the liberal use of color each make me woefully wish this project were real.

Today, the unification of Microsoft’s product-line is sorely needed. Regardless of the promise of any one of Microsoft’s products or the increasing aesthetic seamlessness across the board, there is a distinct lack of a cohesive narrative across the company’s outward facade. Further, as is highlighted by Andrew, Microsoft’s misplaced efforts toward endearing the customer through lighthearted and colorful imagery is utterly ill-conceived.

Combining a modern — borderline science-fiction-esque — tone with a contemporary naming scheme, I cannot help but think Andrew has latched onto a fantastic concept for the entirety of Microsoft’s brand.

I highly recommend you peruse the entirety of Andrew’s ‘Next Microsoft’ concept. It’s fantastic.

Redesigning the HP Brand


Moving Brands has today detailed its method for redesigning the HP brand. The biggest change? The circular logo is gone in favor of an abstract, linear design.

My reaction? Well, it's certainly an improvement over the blue, circular design of yore. The mockups hint at some fairly progressive product designs, webOS, and some pretty good looking meetings. All good things.

The real trick is whether HP follows through with Moving Brands image, or if it continues to shamelessly rip off MacBook designs.