Spring Cleaning at Microsoft? Redesigns on Tablet for Bing, Yammer, Skype and Xbox

By Steve Anderson April 29, 2013

With spring underway over much of the northern Hemisphere – even if most of the time it's colder than many would like – it's not surprising that thoughts are rapidly turning to spring cleaning. That seems to be the case at Microsoft, as reports from Design Day 2013 suggest that a wide swath of Microsoft products are looking at a redesign all their own.

The reports emerged from Windows Phone design studio manager Albert Shum and the Wolff Olins creative director Todd Simmons, who noted that trying to rebrand a company like Microsoft was a fairly tall order. To that end, many of Microsoft's biggest names were under the microscope in terms of some new aesthetics. Windows 8, naturally, was first on the docket with word of a new branding, in particular a new logo. But it wasn't just the Windows 8 logo that was set to get a little bit of modification, as Simmons noted: "Other brands are coming along too. Bing, Skype, Yammer, Xbox – everything is under development."

The big issue was, according to Simmons, how to "put a consumer face on this brand, as an ecosystem" and helping Microsoft shed its image as a corporate monolith. Given that reports indicate quite a bit of new Microsoft hardware is in the works – especially the upcoming new round of Xbox titles – reports about a new coat of collective paint for the Microsoft hardware line wouldn't be out of place at all.

Indeed, there's quite a bit of new hardware in the works for Microsoft. The rapidly expanding lineup of Windows Phone devices, coupled with the likely imminent introduction of the new Xbox later in May, has probably got Microsoft thinking about ratcheting up its consumer offerings. After all, PCs and laptops have been taking something of a beating lately in the face of a switch to smartphones and tablets, and Microsoft's smartphone line is lagging behind entrenched competitors Apple and Android.

The consumer line seems to be changing tack, so for Microsoft to consider alterations to some of its biggest names makes sense, especially in terms of, as Simmons said, "put[ting] a consumer face on this brand, as an ecosystem." Some positive news out of Microsoft recently suggests that the company may well have something bright ahead, especially if there's a specific effort made to not only keep its desktops going but also make more push into mobile.

Only time will tell if Microsoft's revamping proves ultimately successful, but the underlying changes in the consumer market do suggest, at least somewhat, that aesthetics may not be the issue here. But still, Microsoft is clearly trying to recapture that old consumer magic and give itself a new leg up.

Edited by Alisen Downey

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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