Microsoft's Marketing Fail

Ann All

So Microsoft is rolling out this new search engine called Bing. It's Microsoft, and it's a search product, so of course it's big news.


Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was impressed by a Bing demo. Other early reviews have been pretty positive. The company reportedly plans to spend some $100 million promoting it.


Too bad Microsoft didn't spend more marketing scratch researching the name. As TechCrunch notes, the Chinese translation of Bing is "disease." But hey, that's OK. It's not like China has any market potential. (Sarcasm obviously intended.) Guess this helps illustrate, as I've written before, why cultural differences make global operations a challenge even for the largest and most successful companies.


It gets worse. To some street types, bing is also a slang term for jail. Oddly, neither of these possible meanings for "bing" is mentioned in a New York Times story about the name. The story does menton, somewhat snarkily, that some technology types are saying it's an acronym for But It's Not Google.


A number of publications, including Search Engine Land, have noted that Google trumped Microsoft in the marketing stakes by introducing its new collaborative platform called Wave on the same day. Wonder if any marketing heads at Microsoft will roll for this?

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