Microsoft to rebrand SkyDrive after losing trademark skirmish

Microsoft to rebrand SkyDrive after losing trademark skirmish

Summary: Microsoft is going to rebrand its cloud storage service, following a settlement with British Sky Broadcasting Group over rights to the 'Sky' name.

TOPICS: Legal, Cloud, Microsoft

Microsoft is going to be rebranding SkyDrive, its cloud storage service, following its loss of a trademark battle with British Sky Broadcasting Group over the "Sky" name.



As reported on July 31 by The Verge's Tom Warren, Microsoft has decided not to appeal its recent loss and is going to rebrand SkyDrive instead of fight for the name.

A joint press release by Microsoft and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) explained the decision. From that release:

"According to the settlement, Microsoft will not pursue its planned appeal of this decision and Sky will allow Microsoft to continue using the SkyDrive name for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand. The agreement also contains financial and other terms, the details of which are confidential."

Microsoft officials are not saying when they plan to rebrand SkyDrive or what the new name for the service will be.

Update: I guess this means SkyDrive Pro also will be getting a new name, too. 

BSkyB, partly owned by News Corp., won the intial judgement in the England and Wales High Court against Microsoft over infringing the "Sky" trademark earlier this month.

BSkyB is one of the largest providers of paid television subscriptions in the U.K. and Europe. Sky has begun providing mobile applications and online streaming services to try and expand its large customer base and remain competitive in consideration of what the average consumer now expects. These new services also happen to use cloud-based technology. In addition, the company used to offer its own cloud-based storage service, Sky Store & Share, before closing in December 2011.

This isn't the first time Microsoft is being required to change one of its brands because of a naming dispute.

In 2012, Microsoft dropped the "Metro" name which it had been using to refer to its new design language and user interface for Windows and Windows Phone. Company officials said Metro was just a codename, even though it was widely used in marketing and other materials. Microsoft officials never said that the reason for discontinuing Metro was due to a trademark dispute, but many company watchers believe a dispute with retailer Metro AG led to Microsoft's decision to steer clear of Metro.

Microsoft never made it clear what the replacement for "Metro" was. Different divisions at the company use different terms, including "Modern" and "Windows Store" as synonyms for Metro/Metro-Style.

If you were to rebrand SkyDrive, what would you go with? How about Azure Drive? Other thoughts?

Topics: Legal, Cloud, Microsoft


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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  • Office Drive

    Since it already runs the Office web apps to open the files online.
    • I hear Zune's available

      I use Zune to Zune my files, so I can Zune them from my phone or my tablet, then Zune them with family and friends. Thanks Zune!
      • So is

  • ContosoDrive

    Just call it ContosoDrive
    • Or NSA spy drive
      • OK! We get it!

        *oooohh* MS is evil and they're letting the NSA spy on us. You don't need to spam every article.
      • Ha

        All the other tech companies based in America needed patient approvals, special regulations via their political lobbying, IRS audits of their executives and board members, spectrum bandwidth and merger approvals, etc totally would not do everything the NSA/US Government ask them to do, esp. since they can't even complain about it with the gag orders.

        No, just keep thinking all your personal data is fine with Google, Microsoft, Twitter, etc.
        Rann Xeroxx
      • Could we rename Google Drive that too?

        Because we know that Google isn't immune to the "war on terror".
        Michael Alan Goff
  • Microsoft to rebrand SkyDrive after losing trademark skirmish

    Its just a name so if they change it its not a big deal. The software will still work the same.
    • True, but

      rebranding is a lot of work. You can still find references to Windows Live on Microsoft websites and that isn't nearly as built-in as SkyDrive has been.

      It'll be interesting to see what they come up with. The easiest would be add a pe after Sky, then a search and replace could be used. In any case, a lot of man*hours will be used for making the name change.
    • It's a big deal

      Just another massive marketing screw-up for Microsoft, in a two year period of one marketing screw-up after another. "It's just a name"? Are you daft? Names are everything in business. Brands and brand management are incredibly huge, especially when you are talking about marketing to consumers. The "Metro" fowl up, then calling Windows RT "Windows RT" (worst consumer product naming decision in history). Now this; they pick a name for their cloud storage service without making sure they could have the rights to the name world-wide. So now they go back and start over.

      If this were the only marketing screw-up that Microsoft has experienced in the past couple years, yeah, no big deal. But that's not the case. The entire Microsoft marketing division should be working at Wendy's right now.
      • well they had windows 'NT'

        way back when, and that worked out fine.
      • Oh come on.

        It's just an unfortunate and somewhat goofy ruling by an oddball judge and no reflection on Microsoft's marketing people.
  • I would

    call it CieloAzul (blueSky).
  • Microsoft should appeal.

    No one should own "rights" to the word "Sky." It's too general of a term. Plus, we are talking about 2 totally difference businesses here; one is broadcasting and the other is internet related services. What's next...Microsoft needs to rebrand Skype?
    • i remember

      Microsoft suing Lindows because the name was "confusing" (but only to fools) so they just hoisted on their own petard
    • It's because BSkyB is extending its services into cloud-y stuff

      It's like when Apple (the Beatles record label) sued what was then Apple Computer over the name. As part of the settlement, Apple agreed never to get into the music business. My guess is that Apple (the Beatles one) now gets boat load of money (since Apple Inc now dominates the music business).

      Re-read the second paragraph after the bolded "Update 1"
    • Same company sued Skype

      but at the time Skype was not owned by Microsoft so they lost.
      Bet they could sue today and win because it is now owned by an American company.
  • Live Mesh

    Why not call it Live Mesh, oh hang on that's already been done.
    • At least there won't be a trademark issue

      But I'm sure they can come up with something better.
      Michael Kelly