The Microsoft brand - better after Bill Gates leaves?

The question is will Microsoft remain a dominant brand once Bill Gates leaves the company?

Or maybe the question is, will Microsoft regain its brand dominance once Bill Gates leaves the company?

Microsoft’s image is currently being battled out. On the one hand it was recently named as the #8 “best brand” among consumers in a Harris Poll, beating out Apple. On the other it is the subject of a devastating and popular series of attack ads by Apple on how old-fashioned and clunky it is. (QuickTime needed to view)

I believe that Microsoft will actually get better once Gates goes. The company has a strong culture – look at the number and outspokenness of Microsoft-related blogs. From that point of view, there is a great deal of potential there, just waiting to be unleashed through new leadership.

Perhaps the way forward will be through Gates’ strategic-thinking successor, Craig Mundie (subscription required to view full story), who plans to improve the brand by changing the company’s image as a lumbering giant, unable to innovate on its own.

Microsoft’s advertising tagline is “Your Potential. Our Passion.” That tagline seems to apply to the company itself – it needs to rediscover its own locked-up potential. What is the company good at, and good for? (Can it break through the dark side of its image, as a company that seeks to dominate computing at the expense of new and better ways of doing things?) That’s what the public wants and needs to know.