As I'm wont to do, I criticized Microsoft's new branding. So instead of just bashing them, I thought I'd post my own interpretations.
Their new logo is boring. It lacks energy. That's the problem with squares. They are rigid, upright, implying immobility. Microsoft is not a utility company. I don't think they want to communicate that. So, the first option is to simply shift the square into a rhombus. It's alive. It has energy. It has motion. Importantly, it's more than four squares arranged in a bigger square. The increased complexity adds personality. It makes the "face" more identifiable.
I think that the shifted square is closest to where they wanted to go. I am 100% sure that they experimented with this logo internally. Hell, it took me three minutes of playing around to create these different versions. It's puzzling as to why they didn't choose it. I think it's better.
The other logos are just me playing around, showing what I mean when I say "identifiable." All of those geometric arrangements are more unique, less commonplace. They have more character to them, allowing that shape to be associated with Microsoft. The four squares is so common, that even with a massive brand effort, I doubt that Microsoft will ever be able to associated the company with the shape.
Indeed, the blatant "unification" of the Metro interface with the overall brand is actually a bit ham-fisted. The sort of bland logo is in that sense simply a manifestation of a hodge-podge company, trying hard to create some sort of "unity" out of something that shouldn't be unified. Synergy is not a thing, gentlemen; it is a catchphrase used by those who don't actually understand business.
And just for fun, more new Microsoft logos.