Microsoft might be considering using a few hundred millions dollars it did not spend on the failed Yahoo acquisition to rebrand its Live search to Kumo, a Japanese word for "Spider" or "Cloud".
Kumo.com, as well as dozens of other combinations of the word, has been purchased by Microsoft and is currently being redirected to what appears to be a test site, for employees only; currently pinging Kumo.com gives an "access denied".
Live Search was launched back in 2006 to replace MSN search but failed to topple Google or Yahoo and have since then been languishing in third place, even if it was the default search engine in Microsoft Internet Explorer, which accounts for around 80 percent of the global browser market share.
So is it the real deal? Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's platforms and services division, hinted at Search Marketing Expo conference earlier this year, that the company could possibly change the "Live" branding.
But just swapping names won't be enough; Microsoft will need to come up with a completely rehauled, back to basics search to compete with Google and possibly integrate semantic search specialist Powerset which it acquired earlier this year.
And adopting the name Kumo will mean that yet more resources (time, money, human) will have to be dedicated to the rebrand - and Microsoft is seriously running short of time.
Microsoft has also tried to introduce a loyalty scheme for Live search users in the form of a cashback programme following the purchase earlier in September 2007 of cashback expert Jellyfish.
Live Search cashback Interest Inquiry
Kumo: The new name Of Microsoft Live Search?