Microsoft’s GM of search product management (on the marketing side), Brad Goldberg, is leaving the company to become CEO of online business at investment firm Peak6. This doesn’t impact the technical side of search at Microsoft, which just hired former Yahoo search exec Qi Lu to head up its overall online business unit.
There’s also much speculation today about what Microsoft may do with its “Kumo” domain/brand. When the name initially surfaced last week the conjecture was that this would become the brand for search at Microsoft, replacing Live. Today, however, the idea has surfaced that Kumo could be used as a broader, umbrella brand for a range of online services:
According to Whois.Net, Microsoft has registered the kumo.com domain, and through CSC, a company that manages domain names for corporations, also has registered related domains that indicate the Kumo name could be used for other services. Those domains include: www.kumosearch.com, www.kumopics.com, www.kumowiki.com, www.kumogroups.com and www.kumotravel.com.
Kumo is a Japanese word that can be used to mean “cloud,” “ceiling” or “sea spider,” among other things, according to an online Japanese-to-English translation service.
The decision of whether to launch another search or online services brand is a difficult one. The Live brand is still not as well known as MSN, which argues potentially for another go at branding. However, Microsoft has invested heavily in building Live and has some momentum behind it with a recent launch/upgrade of the Live Services suite. Multiple brands risks further confusing consumers.
Moving to privacy and data retention, Microsoft had previously made an offer (in the context of ongoing EU negotiations) to cut data retention to six months if rivals Google and Yahoo also agreed. Today Yahoo unilaterally said it was cutting data retention times to three months, putting pressure on the others. (Yahoo’s announcement will be the subject of a separate post.) The news is generating positive buzz and coverage for Yahoo.
On the not-so-positive side is the rumor that Yahoo may be shutting down its online video editing service Jumpcut, which it acquired in September, 2006 for an undisclosed sum. In an effort to reign in costs, the company is also cutting so-called “Hollywood perks” at its offices in Santa Monica, including reserved executive parking, free snacks and coffee cards.
After would-be Yahoo CEO Arun Sarin (the fomer Vodafone CEO) said he wasn’t interested in the job, another potential candidate Jonathan Miller won’t be joining the firm as CEO either — or buying it for that matter — according to Bloomberg.
I think there are several revenue streams at Twitter waiting to be born. A more challenging issue in my mind is how to make the service more “useful” and practical for the broader audience of people who might like to get at all the content and recommendations being generated by Twitter users.
And finally today Google posts the step-by-step “how-tos” of licensing content (to Google) for distribution on Earth and in Maps.