Microsoft trademarks two more names: Sift and Swivel

Summary:Microsoft's "Windows Live" branding has been a textbook case of how not to name your products. But does Microsoft really need to go to the opposite extreme and rebrand everything from its operating systems to its mapping software with cuter, shorter names?

Microsoft's "Windows Live" branding has been a textbook case of how not to name your products. But does Microsoft really need to go to the opposite extreme and rebrand everything from its operating systems to its mapping software with cuter, shorter names?

Microsoft's decision to rebrand Live Search as "Kumo," "Bing," "Hook" or some other more pronounceable name is well-known at this point. But Microsoft is trademarking other new names, too, including "Sift" and "Swivel."

Like its recent trademark application for Bing, the one for Sift is broad and inconclusive. As Paid Content notes, the application says that Sift could be the name for an “operating system software for mobile phones; computer search engine software; computer programs for searching email, text messages, address and contact information.”

(Would Microsoft be crazy enough to trademark its general Web search engine and its search engine for mobile with two different names, say Bing and Sift? As Windows Live has shown, truth can be stranger than fiction....)

The trademark application for Swivel sounds as if it is more closely tied to mobile phones -- and possibly be the new name for Windows Mobile, according to Paid Content. If I were a betting woman, I'd guess that Swivel might be a possible final name for Pink (the device and/or the services).

Anyone out there have a guess on why Microsoft is cornering the market for monosyllabic search/software/services names? Is it just to keep everyone guessing? Or is there some method to this Kumo-Bing-Hook-Sift-Swivel madness?  Plus -- what's going to happen to all these search and services brands when and if Microsoft consummates some kind of a search/ad deal with Yahoo?

Update: Kip Kniskern of LiveSide notes that the trademark application for "Sift" has been "initially refused." It's unclear when and whether Microsoft may resubmit it to the Patent and Trademark Office.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.