Evaluating Microsoft's new image, can they be cool?

In my very first article here at Neowin, I posed the question: "Can Microsoft overtake Apple in 'coolness'?"

It goes without saying that over the past little while we have been presented with news from Microsoft that leaves us thinking, "cool!" or even, "awesome!"

Firstly, the Gates and Seinfeld advertisements. Granted, these were met with some criticism, but they presented a face of Microsoft not really seen prior. The advertisements certainly succeeded in generating conversation and soon after, while people were still talking, the "I'm a PC" advertisements surfaced. The criticisms for these advertisements were largely positive. Microsoft garnered applause by many for not resorting to the negative (yet effective) advertising style adopted by Apple. This was the first in many occurrences that have redefined Microsoft over the past while.

The Mojave Experiment also seemed to dispel a few myths about Windows Vista. It certainly illuminated how vastly the "anti-windows" meme spread, but more importantly it illuminated how unjustified those with the negative predispositions actually were.

Windows 7. With the beta being tested by many, the results are overwhelmingly positive. It is safe to say that no Microsoft operating system (with the exception of perhaps the earliest) has been met with the positive reviews that Windows 7 is experiencing, while still in a pre-release form. The anticipation is high and while I don't feel that Vista was as bad as many said it was, many of those who chose to forego a Vista upgrade are considering an upgrade to Windows 7.

Additionally, the announcement of the Zune HD has been accepted with anticipation. While Apple's iPod is still the dominant player in the portable music field, that has not stopped Microsoft from making efforts and from chipping away at Apple's market share. Love the Zune, or hate the Zune, competition is healthy.

At E3, Microsoft revealed Project Natal. Again, this was widely received with anticipation and can be safely classified as an innovation, something which Microsoft has been accused of never making.

Most recently, Microsoft released Bing, their decision engine. It's a bit too early to gauge the reception on this one, but from my own personal experience it is certainly a hit. I think the moving away from "search engine", something predominantly associated with Google to "decision engine", something that seems to transcend that which a traditional search offers us, was perhaps one of the most important concepts behind Bing and furthermore, the most accurate classification of the features therein. In many ways, there is no competing with Google in the search field. Microsoft has decided not to, and instead is attempting to redefine the usefulness and effectiveness of the field itself. The most recent Bing advertisements convey, what I think to be accurately, the folly of traditional search engines.

Oh, and let's not forget the Microsoft store. Perhaps not as flashy as the other announcement made by Microsoft, I think it will be successful in popularizing the brand amongst shoppers who would have otherwise only seen a glowing Apple logo while strolling through a mall.

The above is truly a wealth of announcements, ones that I feel have served to systematically redefine Microsoft's image. Whereas in the past Microsoft was touted as being tasteless and stale, the future seems to be a bright one where Microsoft is fresh, innovative and dare I say, cool?

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