Over the course of 37 years, Microsoft has had five corporate logos. They changed quickly in the early years, but then the company held steady from 1987 until -- today. Ahead of a big wave of major product rollouts this fall, including Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, the Surface tablet, and the next version of Office, Microsoft has updated its logo once again, after 25 years of holding steady.
This is Microsoft's very first corporate logo, from the company's founding in 1975, back in the Albuquerque, N.M., days. Gerald Ford was president.
In 1980, Microsoft put all its syllables on a single line. This design change came a year after the company had moved north by northwest to Washington state, and a year before it incorporated. Jimmy Carter was in the final year of his one term in the White House.
That second corporate logo didn't last long. Here's Microsoft's third go at it, from 1982 -- the year after the IBM PC debuted, sporting Microsoft's 16-bit operating system, MS-DOS 1.0. Ronald Reagan was president.
Microsoft's fourth corporate logo arrived in 1987. That was a year after the company began trading as a public stock and moved to its current home of Redmond, Wash., from nearby Bellevue. Reagan was still president, in his second term. It would be three years still before the landmark arrival of Windows 3.0.
This is the logo most familiar to people -- it endured a quarter-century, through the presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as Barack Obama's time in office to date.
Which brings us to today. As of August 23, 2012, for the first time ever, the Microsoft corporate logo includes a splash of color as well as a graphical element to go with the company name. (The font for the letters, if you're curious, is called Segoe.) The four-color, four-segment box bears a striking resemblance to the company's long-running Windows logo, albeit with straight sides and right angles.
One of the very first public appearances of the new Microsoft logo was at the unveiling of the new Microsoft retail store in Boston's Prudential Center complex. (It is also now showing, Microsoft said, at its stores in Bellevue and in Seattle's University Village.)
Another illuminated placement of the logo in the Boston store. Microsoft said the new corporate logo will appear in other stores over the next few months, as well as in the company's television ads globally. It'll also grace Microsoft.com.