Microsoft announced that it was rebranding Hotmail — an email service whose name (“hot mail”) is so ineradicably stuck in the 1990s that its logo may as well have been Urkel — to the more modern and eye-pleasing Outlook.com.
When we think about Microsoft, we tend to think of nerdy, IT stereotypes: pocket protectors, calculator watches, atomic wedgies, sweaty desperation, armpit stains, the computer lab, bleep-bloop-bleep-bloop-bleep-bloop.
But in the last year — with Windows Phone Mango, Windows 8 Metro, the Surface tablet and the recent redesign of Hotmail to the fab-looking Outlook.com — a new Microsoft has emerged. Defying its reputation as a clutter-filled eyesore repository, Microsoft has proven to be one of the most stylish, design-forward companies in tech. No major tech company is churning out dazzling, adventurous and chic products like Microsoft, a company whose aesthetic now has more to do with Kanye’s “All of the Lights” video than the drab interiors of your standard fluorescent-lit cubicle farm.