Microsoft took a strategic approach to designing the Microsoft Edge icon

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Microsoft took a strategic approach designing the Microsoft Edge icon

WinBeta readers have spoken. AYE for the Microsoft Edge name, and NAY for the Microsoft Edge logo. With the combination that the software giant has chosen, it seems the company is trying to introduce something brand new into the market using a brand that doesn’t seem to be… brand new.

There is no doubt that the Microsoft Edge logo resembles the Internet Explorer logo. They both have a lowercase ‘e’, which is cut off slightly on the left. The only element missing from the new logo is the ring that orbits the ‘e’. The resemblance is so close that I believe that if it was shown to us before we knew about Project Spartan, we would have known, without a doubt, that it was the new icon for Internet Explorer 12.

We’ve heard that the reasoning behind the logo similarity is because Microsoft is being cautious to avoid alienating people still using Internet Explorer when it designed the Edge logo. Let’s assess that claim a little.

Microsoft took a strategic approach designing the Microsoft Edge icon

Looking at the numbers, Internet Explorer holds 56% of worldwide web browser market share according to the latest figures from NetMarketShare. Broken down, Internet Explorer 11 and 10 that run on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 hold a combined 30% share, while Internet Explorer 9 that runs on Windows 7 and Vista, and Internet Explorer 8 that runs on Windows 7, Vista, and XP hold a combined 24% share.

We already know that Microsoft is targeting Windows 7 and 8.1 users with a free upgrade to Windows 10, and since the majority of Internet Explorer users are using those two operating systems, it makes sense that Microsoft is trying to draw users in with a logo that is familiar, and avoid alienating a relatively large group of people.

For those who simply don’t care about what browser they use to access their email, they wouldn’t care about what the browser icon looks like either. Additionally, people who aren’t tech savvy tend to stick to what they know. They know the Internet Explorer icon, and they will know the Microsoft Edge icon. Having managed an internet café in the past, I’ve met a surprisingly large amount of people who were absolutely determined to use Internet Explorer and nothing else because that’s the browser they’ve always used.  And the new Edge logo will be instantly familiar to them. The browser itself might not, but I have a feeling they would accept it as an evolution of IE. Just as Windows 10 would be an evolution to whatever Windows OS they used before.

Microsoft took a strategic approach designing the Microsoft Edge icon

On the other hand, we know very well that many tech enthusiasts do care about what icons looks like. That poor Recycle Bin just won’t see the end of it. But, here’s the question, will an icon really stop people in this group from using the browser? The answer is probably no. Personally, even if the icon was the poop emoji I would still use the browser, if it lives up to being the next-gen browser Microsoft wants it to be of course.

The point is, it was a strategic move for Microsoft to make the Edge logo familiar to the Internet Explorer one. A completely new logo would leave a lot people who have upgraded to Windows 10 wondering where their precious Internet Explorer went. Besides, despite its infamous nature, Internet Explorer remains a powerful brand. Tarnished, but powerful nonetheless, and starting from scratch, then catching up to Chrome will be no easy task. The good news for those who don’t like the new icon, the browser is still in development and if history is any indication, you may just have your way as many have with the Cortana name. But I wouldn’t get my hopes up, not after the way Microsoft introduced Edge at Build 2015. Let us know your thoughts on why Microsoft went for a familiar icon in the comments below.