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Microsoft Now Has 600 Employees Whose Role is Design

For years aesthetics were Apple’s heart. Microsoft has the Touch mouse in MOMA and the Zune had rave aesthetic reviews but they’ve now pivoted even further with the use of Metro as a key principal across Microsoft’s products. They want consumers to look at their products and love their products. Just how seriously are they taking it?  Here’s an excerpt from Bloomberg:

To win, or even just to survive, in what has become a consumer-driven industry, products need to be eye candy that force shoppers to take a second look. Microsoft has roughly doubled its design ranks to 600 employees over the past five years and lured talents like Albert Shum, who developed technology-centered products at Nike (NKE) before becoming Windows Phone design chief in 2008. The company has also rethought how it builds things. Steve Kaneko, a top Microsoft designer, says engineers and executives have ceded more authority to designers. They’re organized in small teams under the belief that democracy is the enemy of good design, and regularly switch groups to allow ideas to percolate. “It’s a huge, dramatic change compared to five years ago,” says Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research (FORR). “They’re realizing design is absolutely essential to the experience.”

I like Metro and I like that Microsoft may finally be getting it. The way things look is just as important as how they work. Sex sells…uhm I’m leaving that in – it’s a Friday