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Microsoft's previous logo was apparently good enough for 25 years of service - debuting in 1987.
Obviously the use of logos are of vital interest to a company. Here are just a few of Microsoft's guidelines for using this logo:
The Logo must always be at least 60 pixels in width.
The Logo must appear only in a horizontal position.
The Logo must stand alone and may not be combined with any other object, including but not limited to other logos, words, graphics, photos, slogans, numbers, design features, or symbols. The Logo must never be used to represent the word "Microsoft" in text, including in a headline, product-name logotype, or body copy.