23rd August 2013
Last month, Microsoft lost a trademark battle with British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) over its SkyDrive cloud storage service. The UK High Court ruled that Microsoft had infringed upon Sky’s right to the “Sky” trademark. Rather than appeal decision, Microsoft has now chosen to rebrand SkyDrive. In a joint statement with BSkyB it announced:
“According to the settlement, Microsoft will not pursue its planned appeal of this decision and Sky will allow Microsoft to continue using the SkyDrive name for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand. The agreement also contains financial and other terms, the details of which are confidential.”
SkyDrive competes directly with Google Drive, Dropbox and Apple’s iCloud. It provides an initial 7GB of free cloud storage space and competes favourably with its competitors in a number of places. It is the only one of the four services to work on all of Windows, Mac, on the Web and remotely, the only one to have work across all all of iOS, Android, Windows Mobile and mobile web and it offers the most extensive document collaboration and photo sharing features.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, that hasn’t necessarily translated into market share. Earlier this year, Strategy Analytics released a US market share breakdown from the back of of last year – and Microsoft’s SkyDrive is nowhere to be seen. It’s not a dissimilar situation to Microsoft’s mobile offering. Windows Mobile 8 is widely regarded as being an excellent offering amongst those in the know – but Microsoft remain well of the pace of Google and Apple in the mobile space.
Fundamentally, Microsoft’s brand is the issue. It doesn’t have the cache that Google or Apple have amongst consumers – which is no doubt a symptom of its Windows ubiquity and familiarity breeding contempt. The matter isn’t helped by a confusing brand portfolio and other trademark disputes that have led to yet more rebranding.
Microsoft has made strides towards shedding its old, staid image – and no doubt it has done so to a degree – but having to rebrand due to needless trademark disputes can only slow down that process. Surely its a mistake that won’t be made again.
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