Of all the many problems with Microsoft’s (MSFT) online presence, here’s a really obvious one: Just how, exactly, are we supposed to use Microsoft’s search technology? Live.com? MSN.com? Or the “Web” button from microsoft.com?
They all work, which is the problem: Microsoft’s online presence is scattered between so many brands and sites we don’t know where to go even if we wanted to.
But common sense may have arrived at Microsoft Online along with new boss Qi Lu — Microsoft’s considering a new brand.
Seattle P-I: The company has trademarked the Kumo brand name for search-related purposes and registered several Kumo domain names.
Whitney Burk, a spokeswoman for Microsoft’s online services group, would not comment on the company’s plans for the Kumo name.
But Burk did say that the company is “absolutely” considering renaming Live Search.
“It’s something we’ve talked about quite a bit,” she said. “There is a branding challenge. It is something that we are considering multiple ways to address.”
She said that the deals the company announced Wednesday to put Live Search on Dell computers and Verizon phones were one way the company was trying to build awareness of the Live Search brand.
Asked why the company had doubts about the Live Search name, Burk said: “We haven’t made it stand for something that consumers have connected to.”
The possibility of a rebranding was first mentioned last June by Kevin Johnson, then the president of the platform and services division at Microsoft. He said at a conference that the biggest obstacle to getting people to use Live Search was the Google brand, which he said users equate with search. He then added that Microsoft needed to “fix” its own brand, Live.
Long overdue. But it “Kumo” really the best the Microsoft brain trust can come up with?