Skip to Content

Kumo: Can Microsoft Play with the Big Search Engine Players?.

The author

Mike Gomez

SEO Strategy Manager

New look kumo search engine

MSN Search, Live Search, a prototype rebrand by the name of ‘Kumo’ and now a rumoured final search engine moniker of ‘Bing’. I’m not sure which of the new names are worse –‘Kumo’ or ‘Bing’, ‘Bing’ or ‘Kumo’. ‘Kumo’, while still abstract, has a tiny quality ring surrounding it whereas I would relate ‘Bing’ to something very, very tacky. Saying ‘Bing’ straight away makes me think of (in an Italian-American accent) ‘Bada Bing Bada Boom’ or even the infamous ‘Chandler Bing’ from world renowned sitcom Friends. Whatever Microsoft’s new search engine platform will be called, I’m sticking with ‘Kumo’ for the rest of this post. Mainly because the fact ‘Bing’ hasn’t been confirmed and (sorry Microsoft) just sounds plain stupid.

The Kumo Countdown Kumo is the latest search engine rebrand from Microsoft and rumoured to launch on June 2nd 2009. This came about after a member of Neowin spotted a ‘Countdown to Kumo’ clock through a window of one of the Live Search development buildings. Ever since, there has been a meek warm buzz to the build up of the new platform being

released. Kumo Needs to be Disruptive The question on everyone’s lips is simply “Will a rebrand work?”. Personally, I’m not sure. It hasn’t worked in the past for Microsoft and in the present day, it will be even harder for a new brand and renovated model to fit to the marketplace. Steve Ballmer was quoted saying “We are going to have to be more disruptive [in the search market]”, in a recent conference at Stanford University’s Memorial Hall. Microsoft realise they are not the number 1 big player, and to an extent not even number 2. They will need to heavily invest in marketing and exposure and that raises the question of whether or not they will see a return of that substantial investment. The advantage is that Microsoft has less revenue to protect. They don’t have as much to lose as the market leader and therefore can take risks and carry out experiments, not worry about failure and invest in to the products that work to evolve them. Don’t do it Again! Although ‘Kumo’ already has plenty of critics, the key to Microsoft’s success definitely lies in experimenting. I believe they need to adapt their business model to allow for experimentation in the future, whether these experiments fail or succeed. They certainly need rule out rebranding their search engine platform another time or risk shooting themselves in the foot, if they haven’t already.