Microsoft launched a new logo this month. The new logo consists of four squares and is similar to Windows logos of the past, so this is one of the first things I thought: is Microsoft now trying to be synonymous with its Windows product? And is that dangerous? The reason this question resonated with me is that I’ve been thinking about organizations that have been synonymous with a product or program.
One example of product-equaling-company not going well seems to be Kodak. This month the company announced it will sell off what it for years promoted as equal to the company: film and its related components. If Kodak had understood it was about capturing and sharing memories, and not a specific product family, would it have been able to escape the sell-off fate? If Windows 8 doesn’t fare well, is Microsoft in danger if consumers can’t tell the difference between a company and its products?
A company that seems to be doing well with the difference is Apple. I’m not an Apple user, but the organization does a good job of being synonymous with a purpose, which I’ll abbreviate here as simplifying people’s lives through technology, not particular products or programs. In my opinion it makes them be able to be daring with products and not be attached to particular iterations.
Whether Microsoft meant to or not, its new visual seems to stake its relevance on a product, not a movement — and even if Windows is successful for now, how does a tie to it allow for forward thinking, innovation, what’s next?