Introducing Deconstruct, a new propaganda venture from A Hundred Monkeys in which we perform close readings of names belonging to companies with large legal teams.
With Edge, Microsoft rolled out a browser that boasts newer, leaner software, replacing the dated Internet Explorer. That’s a good thing, cause the IE name needed to go. Like fellow guilty-party Safari, the name feels quaint and dated to internet natives: we’re not exploring the web anymore. Likely we’re in for a routine visit, and a growing number of us essentially live there.
Enter Edge. There’s a strong functional connection here, emphasizing the liminal role that a browser plays. As a portal between user and content, Edge demarcates the boundaries of both. This is the name’s strongest suit.
Next we have the idea of edge as advantage, the slim margin of victory you enjoy over people using older, slower browsers. There’s also the implication that the browser is on the cutting edge, technologically speaking. Claims to quality are tricky; it’s hard to make them feel authentic. In this case, the claim is just one face of a multivalent name, which softens the branding assault a little.
On the whole, Microsoft would very much like you to think of their new software as a literal knife. Differentiating Edge from the buggy, developer-hostile Internet Explorer benefits from the comparison to a sharp, effective tool. Shaking up the company’s pleated-pants, cubicle culture image requires identification with a dangerous object. But herein lies the problem of telling without showing. Like most of Microsoft’s products, its brand legacy will depend on how well the browser measures up to expectations.