So just how anxious is Microsoft (MSFT) over the name “Kumo,” a word the company floated as a possible rebrand for the confusing “Microsoft Live Search?” Well, company employees are hitting the blogs, again protesting (too much) that “Kumo” is just an internal word and there might not even be a rebrand.
There has also been a fair amount of speculation around the use of the Kumo brand and URL, and whether this means that we are rebranding Live Search. We’re using the Kumo brand and URL for this test experience to make sure employees understand they’re in a test experience. We believe this will encourage more active feedback. As for rebranding, it’s something we’re still considering.
Whatever. Just last week Chris Liddell explained at great length over at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference the need for a rebrand, and we’re inclined to believe what Microsoft’s CFO tells financial analysts over what a mid-manager writes on an MSDN blog.
Yesterday we ran a poll (you can still vote!) on what people think of the “Kumo” name: So far, 39% of our readers like the name, 61% want something different.
You can read that data in all sorts of different ways, but here’s our take: The name “Kumo” isn’t awful, but it also isn’t great. (“Kumo” is Japanese for either cloud or spider.) Gaining popular acceptance for such a silly word will be an uphill climb, but it’s doable — Hulu did it.
If we were Microsoft, we’d do extensive market testing on “Kumo” as well as any other alternatives the company is kicking around. Because the worst of all worlds is ditching “Kumo” for something that people like even less.