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Quick Hits: Microsoft's Kumo Wrestling

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

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Some cynics question Microsoft's (MSFT) marketing moxie.

The software giant has trademarked "Kumo," and may use the name for more than its (benighted and generally ignored) search engine. Kumo, which is Japanese for "cloud" or "spider," also may appear on a range of Microsoft's software and services.

The prospect of shrink-wrapped Kumo gives Valleywag conniptions.

The Silicon Valley wiseguys note that Bill Gates couldn't wallop Google (GOOG) or cut a deal to buy Yahoo (YHOO) - and now wants to wipe the slate clean with Kumo.

The word "Kumo" admittedly doesn't have the best connotations. It sounds sort of like a Japanese steakhouse in the wilds of New Jersey, on the one hand, and doesn't create the needed aura of exclusivity (not to say competence) Microsoft is shooting for.

ValleyWag says Kumo is likely to be Microsoft's latest dismal failure at product branding: The Microsoft Network became MSN. The Start.com moniker was intended to replace MSN, but was ditched just before the grand christening.

" 'Live' has been tacked on to a host of Microsoft products and websites, but hasn't won over any Google users that we can detect," Valleywag sniffs. "Add to those layers of moribund brands the ever-present 'Microsoft' and 'Windows,' and you get monstrosities like 'Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail.' "

Please. Bill Gates's software changed the world, made the PC industry possible, and helped popularize this whole Internet thing. You can't expect the kids in Redmond to also select winning brand names in their spare time.

Somewhere, there's a guy who nearly hit it big with 6-Up, Electronlux and Colonel Motors. Kumo may yet be a winner.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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