Microsoft has promised that Windows 8 will be a “complete reimagination” of the world’s most widely used operating system. But for a company that’s struggled to escape the seemingly ever-present shadow of Windows XP–or overcome stumbles like Vista–it’s not hard to imagine why some might be skeptical that Windows 8 will be anything more than a basic upgrade: a snappier OS with a few extra bells and whistles, sure, but still the same OS, with start buttons and C:\ drives and control-alt-deletes and all.
Can Microsoft really reimagine itself?
Well, it’s certainly make significant strides toward this end. Microsoft has been praised for its innovative Metro UI, a slick experience that underpins both the acclaimed Mango software and upcoming Windows 8 OS. The company is focused on “live tiles” and even contemplated removing its iconic start button. It’s reportedly sunk $1 billion into its partnership with Nokia, an effort that has produced the gorgeous Lumia 900. It’s had a big hit with Xbox 360; it’s seeing growth with Bing; and it’s acquisition of Skype and development of Office for the iPad will give Microsoft an even wider software reach.
The point is that Microsoft, despite being stereotyped as a stodgy corporate giant, has long proven its ability to reimagine itself–from operating system maker to software developer
to search engine developer to gaming company to mobile player. And last week, Microsoft crystallized all this change with a more symbolic reimagination of itself: a redesigned logo.