In recent weeks, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has admitted very publicly that it has bungled the marketing around its Live Search. The company now plans to spend up to $100 million to fix its image in the market, according to a report in AdAge. Microsoft has hired ad agency JWT to run an online, TV, print and radio campaign that will coincide with a Spring relaunch of Live Search that is expected to introduce new features to the search engine as well as possibly a new brand name, Kumo. AdAge says that the "forthcoming campaign will be careful to not position 'Kumo' as a competitor to Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) or Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and instead cast it as a reimagined search engine that ups the game by yielding fewer but more-focused results."
It obviously isn't clear that the strategy will boost Microsoft's market share in the market. AdAge notes that despite spending lots of money on advertising starting in 2007, IAC's Ask.com's market share nevertheless decreased and the company has since cut its ad budget. But Microsoft is definitely not shy about spreading around big bucks for advertising (After all, it's already spending $300 million on an overall campaign to boost its image). And the company is convinced that perceptions of its search productand not the product itselfare responsible for its lackluster market share. A Microsoft spokeswoman would not comment.
By Joseph Tartakoff