Ballmer: What's A Kumo?

We’re not huge fans of the name “Kumo” for Microsoft’s (MSFT) new search engine, and when we ran a poll 61% of SAI readers didn’t like the name either.

Add Steve Ballmer to the list of Kumo-doubters. Steve, in a talk this morning in New York:

Steve Adler, BusinessWeek: Tell us what you can about Kumo.com.

Steve Ballmer: Well, we need a name. Who knows what that is. Kumo.com… I’ll call it “Live Search” for now.

[Something gets lost in the transcription here. Ballmer pronounced it KOO-mo dot COM?, exaggerating the syllables and raising his voice at the end, in a mocking fashion.]

I think we could use a ‘set change’, as they say in organizational behaviour classes. Whether it’s called ‘Kumo’ — that’s an interesting name — or something else.

[Again, Steve added a joking emphasis to “interesting name,” and the crowd laughed.]

Steve Adler: What does ‘Kumo’ mean?

Steve Ballmer: I don’t think it means anything! [More crowd laughter.]

Personal note: After Steve’s talk, in the press room, another journalist turned to me and asked: Hey, how do you spell Kumo? That’s not a question Microsoft wants people asking.

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