in brief Speculation that Microsoft is planning to shortly relaunch its search engine in Australia under the "Bing" name has intensified after the software giant registered the bing.com.au domain name.
As first reported by APC and verified by searches of the WHOIS database, the company has also registered other similar domain names in other countries such as bing.co.nz and bing.co.uk.
US-based advertising magazine AdAge reported overnight that Microsoft would shortly launch the search engine, which had previously been branded under the "Kumo" name, under the "Bing" moniker, as its latest attempt to rein in search giant Google.
Any launch in Australia would likely involve ninemsn, since Microsoft has a joint venture with PBL Media. Microsoft's existing online offerings, such as its MSN and Windows Live systems, are already integrated with ninemsn in Australia to some extent.
Microsoft Australia representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.