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Contributing Editor

Microsoft’s New Tagline: Hey, it Could Be Worse

Jul 22, 20103 mins
Build AutomationEnterpriseMicrosoft

Grab your churros and get ready to party like it's Windows 7 launch day: Microsoft is taking on a new identity.

Grab your churros and get ready to party like it’s Windows 7 launch day: Microsoft is taking on a new identity.

The Windows wizards announced a new corporate tagline during a meeting with employees this week, a Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed. So, are you ready for the million-dollar phrase?

“Be what’s next.”

Yep — that’s it. I’m assuming they aren’t talking about the Microsoft Kin.

The tagline, as first reported by tech blog Engadget, was revealed at the company’s annual Microsoft Global Experience conference in Atlanta. If it leaves you scratching your head, don’t feel bad: Microsoft has a bit of a history with less-than-stellar slogans. In fact, some of the company’s past catchphrases make “Be what’s next” look downright brilliant.


Microsoft Tagline #1: “It just works.”

The tagline for Microsoft’s Windows Millennium Edition would have been bad enough on its own. The worst part, though, was the fact that two years earlier, Microsoft used an eerily similar slogan for Windows 98: “It just works better.”

Apparently, even the folks inside Redmond realized Win Me was a step backward.

Microsoft Tagline #2: “The ‘Wow’ starts now.”

From Vista. The “wow,” suffice it to say, did not begin.

Microsoft Tagline #3: “People-ready.”

Is it just me, or does this sound more like the motto for some sort of mass transit system?

Microsoft Tagline #4: “Your potential. Our passion.”

Also the name of a new soap opera starring Ricky Martin.

Microsoft Tagline #5: “It’s better with the butterfly.”

This one came from a 2002 campaign for Microsoft’s MSN 8 subscription service. Insects worldwide are still trying to live it down.

Microsoft Tagline #6: “Start something.”

Anything, really. Especially if it’s a campaign to create a meaningful tagline.

Microsoft Tagline #7: “Welcome to the social.”

Watch it bring you to your sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na knees, knees.

Microsoft Tagline #8: “What’s a microprocessor without it?”

Microsoft’s first-ever catchphrase. Also part of a cartoon called “The Legend of Micro-Kid” — yes, seriously.

As PC Today explains it:

“The cartoon depicted a small microchip character as a boxer who possessed speed and power but quickly tired out because he had no real training. The other character, a trainer complete with a derby on his head and big stogie hanging out of his mouth, related the story of how the Micro-Kid had a great future but needed a manager, such as himself, in order to succeed.”

So that’s how Microsoft’s marketing journey began. Suddenly, it all makes sense.

JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the co-founder of eSarcasm. He’s on both Twitter and Facebook; come say hello.

Contributing Editor

JR Raphael is a journalist and columnist who’s been covering Android and Chrome OS since their earliest days. His Android Intelligence (née Android Power) column was born at Computerworld in 2010 and has happily made its home there ever since.

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