We’ve been having some fun with Microsoft’s (MSFT) struggle to find a name to replace “Live Search,” be it “Kumo,” “Bing,” “Kiev,” or something else altogether (you can still vote in our “rebrand Microsoft search” poll.)
But Microsoft’s branding problems are a huge part of the company’s challenge to finally gain ground against Google (GOOG). In blind tests, most users say they don’t see much of a difference between the search results provided by Microsoft or those provided by Google, says Microsoft exec Yusuf Mehdi. But tell people one set of results is “Google,” and people invariably say Google’s results are better.
That branding problem has a serious impact on Microsoft Online’s bottom line. The division has been losing money for years even as Google has been growing.
Given how vital the brand is to people’s quality perception, if anything, Microsoft’s promised $100 million campaign to rebrand Live Search may be too small. And it also shows how vital it is that Microsoft pick a brand name to which the public responds positively.
Could that be “Bing?” In our own unscientific poll, BusinessInsider readers prefer Bing to Kumo by about 3-to-1.