Microsoft trademarks two more names: Sift and Swivel

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?

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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 has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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6 comments
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  • So I guess I can't sit in my Swivel chair, and Sift flour anymore?

    ;-)
    IT_Guy_z
    • hahaa. nope

      You can't. And no more eating those bing cherries or hooking fish, either! MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • Swivel not good choice for UK

    I'm guessing that in America telling someone to swivel doesn't have the same meaning as in the UK. I don't think I should explain here for the sake of decency what it means over here.
    mog0
  • RE: Microsoft trademarks two more names: Sift and Swivel

    Sift sounds perfect for search. Sift.com. Sift it!
    xp-client
    • Yes

      Its short, its easy to type and matches the term search on dictionary too (atleast someway).
      ArnavM
  • Swivel Search? - They better check with TiVo first!

    Tivo has had something called Swivel Search built into their OS for a while now and I'm fairly certain it's a TM - as TiVo does that before they release any named feature!!
    afeazell@...