Microsoft Throwing Another Log Onto the Brand Fire

    April 21, 2009
    Chris Crum

Here we go again with the whirlwind of search engine brands from Microsoft. Joseph Tartakoff with is reporting that Microsoft has trademarked what appears to be a new brand name of an upcoming mobile search engine. And that name is "Sift." He writes:

The name appears to be intended for use with mobile phones, judging by the trademark description. It reads, "operating system software for mobile phones; computer search engine software; computer programs for searching email, text messages, address and contact information."

Asked about its intentions for Sift, which Microsoft trademarked in January, a spokeswoman would not comment, only saying that the company "is always looking at new offerings for its customers."

Now, we don’t know exactly what Microsoft’s intentions for this Sift brand are, or even if they will use it, but if they do roll out a mobile search engine with this title, it would certainly seem like a step in the wrong direction as far as branding is concerned.

As I’ve discussed before, Microsoft’s biggest problem in search is branding. The company has a perfectly good brand in the name "Microsoft" itself that people are very familiar with, yet it continues to shoot out other brands like MSN, Live Search, Bing, Kumo, Kiev, etc.

Google dominates search. You have Google, Google Moble, Google Maps, etc. Microsoft’s brands are all over the place, and its search market share is way below even second place Yahoo.

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Does Microsoft really need more brand names adding to the confusion? Share your thoughts on this.