Microsoft gives up the SkyDrive name to BSkyB: now what?

By Kip Kniskern | Posted July 31, 2013 69 comments

As reported by Tom Warren at The Verge, Microsoft has decided after all not to appeal a decision stemming from a lawsuit restricting Microsoft from using the “SkyDrive” name anywhere in the European Union.  Microsoft had planned an appeal, but has decided to drop that and rename their consumer cloud storage service.  Microsoft does hold a trademark for SkyDrive in the US, but BSkyB holds trademark rights to “Sky” in the EU, and they won a trademark suit in April that held that Microsoft was infringing.

In a statement to the press by BSkyB and Microsoft, the two companies said:

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.

Back when we were first reporting on the existence of a cloud base storage service being worked on by Microsoft, it was known as “Live Drive”, but as Microsoft subsequently drove the “Live” branding into the ground, we doubt they’ll go back to that. With the recent reorganization, and the consolidation of all marketing efforts under Tami Reller, will Microsoft take a step back and take a new look at its naming strategy for consumer services? Microsoft also recently backed off the naming of “Metro” after pressure from a German retailer, never pursued the “Modern” name, and after dropping the “Windows Live” branding just walked away from the idea of an overall name for their consumer services. Will they take another look?

Just yesterday, Microsoft released a set of updates to SkyDrive, and pushed both the service and the name in blog posts and in a session on Reddit.com, and deferred a question on the renaming, claiming that “as engineers”, they weren’t qualified to comment.

Posted July 31st, 2013 at 9:52 am
Category: News
Tags: Live Drive, Metro, Modern, SkyDrive
  • http://gregsedwards.wordpress.com/ Greg Edwards

    Just spit-balling here, what about “CloudDrive,” “Windows Cloud,” or just “The Cloud?”

  • http://gregsedwards.wordpress.com/ Greg Edwards

    Just spit-balling here, what about “CloudDrive,” “Windows Cloud,” or just “The Cloud?”

    • http://www.dannycox.me.uk/ Danny Cox

      “The Cloud” is a Wi-Fi brand in the UK owned by BSkyB, so I don’t think that would be a good idea!

      • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

        BSkyB lawyers for sure would be salivating an legal battle with that one!

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Out of those 3 it would be prudent to be called Windows Cloud!

      Amazon has its Cloud product called “Amazon CloudDrive”
      There several other names of CloudDrive including…
      one.com/en/clouddrive (potentially puts a double whammy of both ‘CloudDrive’ and ‘One’ branding, Ubuntu also has its cloud storage as ‘One’)
      http://www.clouddrive.com.au/‎

  • http://gregsedwards.wordpress.com/ Greg Edwards

    Just spit-balling here, what about “CloudDrive,” “Windows Cloud,” or just “The Cloud?”

    • http://www.dannycox.me.uk/ Danny Cox

      “The Cloud” is a Wi-Fi brand in the UK owned by BSkyB, so I don’t think that would be a good idea!

      • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

        BSkyB lawyers for sure would be salivating an legal battle with that one!

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Out of those 3 it would be prudent to be called Windows Cloud!

      Amazon has its Cloud product called “Amazon CloudDrive”
      There several other names of CloudDrive
      one.com/en/clouddrive (potentially puts a double whammy of both ‘CloudDrive’ and ‘One’ branding, Ubuntu also has its cloud storage as ‘One’)
      http://www.clouddrive.com.au/‎

  • Andy D

    Long live Windows Live!
    Or they could call it platypus!

  • Andy D

    Long live Windows Live!
    Or they could call it platypus!

  • Gdom

    Normally I like when Microsoft loses, but seriously, how can anyone copyright something like “sky”? Next they’re going to copyright ground, earth, blue, yellow, gold, platinum, and just about everything we say. I won’t be able to say a anything without paying royalties.

    • henryed07

      You can’t copyright an English word. Its the confusion of a small minority caused this change.

  • Gdom

    Normally I like when Microsoft loses, but seriously, how can anyone copyright something like “sky”? Next they’re going to copyright ground, earth, blue, yellow, gold, platinum, and just about everything we say. I won’t be able to say a anything without paying royalties.

    • henryed07

      You can’t copyright an English word. Its the confusion of a small minority caused this change.

  • Klas Lilja

    Windows cloud is a good name

  • Klas Lilja

    Windows cloud is a good name

  • RustyGates

    Just use SharePoint.

  • RustyGates

    Just use SharePoint.

  • jkth

    Not Windows Cloud/drive, PLEASE not Windows Drive!

  • jkth

    Not Windows Cloud, PLEASE not Windows Cloud!

  • jkth

    OK, a conspiracy theory. What if secretly Microsoft want to move away from SkyDrive being a “cloud storage” service. Lately we’ve seen a lot of updates where they seem to want to build stuff on top of storage (Photosynth, code editor, photo editor), maybe they’re thinking SkyDrive’s future is primarily as an application platform and hence having a reason to ditch the notion of it being just about storage is a blessing in disguise.
    Just a thought.

    • TheRickshaw

      This certainly sounds like a reasonable theory. The litigation spectacle get’s the word out, and you don’t have to make excuses to “the types who will groan and complain if you make a voluntary name change”. A victorious defeat.

  • jkth

    OK, a conspiracy theory. What if secretly Microsoft want to move away from SkyDrive being a “cloud storage” service. Lately we’ve seen a lot of updates where they seem to want to build stuff on top of storage (Photosynth, code editor, photo editor), maybe they’re thinking SkyDrive’s future is primarily as an application platform and hence having a reason to ditch the notion of it being just about storage is a blessing in disguise.
    Just a thought.

    • TheRickshaw

      This certainly sounds like a reasonable theory. The litigation spectacle get’s the word out, and you don’t have to make excuses to “the types who will groan and complain if you make a voluntary name change”. A victorious defeat.

  • Siliconsub

    Someone on WPCentral suggested OneDrive, like OneNote (a one-stop shop for your notes), one-stop shop for your files

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Re. the OneDrive and the “One” name

      If Ubuntu and one.com not do an News Corperation and be a jerk ‘OneDrive’ might be OK.

      Ubuntu One (one.ubuntu.com) is an Cloud service along with an service from One.com (one.com/en/clouddrive)

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        Ubuntu One is an established brand, and I wouldn’t call them “jerks” because they might think that Microsoft is stealing their thunder.

  • Siliconsub

    Someone on WPCentral suggested OneDrive, like OneNote (a one-stop shop for your notes), one-stop shop for your files

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Re. the OneDrive and the “One” name

      If Ubuntu and one.com not do an News Corperation and be a jerk ‘OneDrive’ might be OK.

      Ubuntu One (one.ubuntu.com) is an Cloud service along with an service from One.com (one.com/en/clouddrive)

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        Ubuntu One is an established brand, and I wouldn’t call them “jerks” because they might think that Microsoft is stealing their thunder.

  • Andrew_ww

    Ridiculous. If I look up at the sky do I have to pay BSkyB as well?

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Rupert is probably consulting (or have consulted) patent troll pals at Apple for a feasibility study!

  • Andrew_ww

    Ridiculous. If I look up at the sky do I have to pay BSkyB as well?

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Rupert is probably consulting (or have consulted) patent troll pals at Apple for a feasibility study!

  • JSYOUNG571

    Xbox Drive

    • http://cid-280a1538334a1cb9.profile.live.com/ Seika

      Seconding this one :D
      It’s Microsoft and they’ve done Xbox Music and Xbox Video. Not far fetched to imagine they’ll keep overloading the brand

      And Skydrive Pro ==> Office Drive or Azure Drive
      Won’t auto-navigate your car though

  • JSYOUNG571

    Xbox Drive

    • http://cid-280a1538334a1cb9.profile.live.com/ Seika

      Seconding this one :D
      It’s Microsoft and they’ve done Xbox Music and Xbox Video. Not far fetched to imagine they’ll keep overloading the brand

      And Skydrive Pro ==> Office Drive or Azure Drive
      Won’t auto-navigate your car though

  • boballistic

    Windows drive, cloudbox, xbox cloud/ drive, cloud one, onedrive, lol or go dumb and beyond the sky, space drive, thatbigbluemassyouseewhenyoulookup drive

  • boballistic

    Windows drive, cloudbox, xbox cloud/ drive, cloud one, onedrive, lol or go dumb and beyond the sky, space drive, thatbigbluemassyouseewhenyoulookup drive

  • Mario Albertico

    This is absolutely crazy…wow.

  • Mario Albertico

    This is absolutely crazy…wow.

  • Tony Gray

    Keep it simple… Microsoft Cloud.

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      or MS Cloud…

  • Tony Gray

    Keep it simple… Microsoft Cloud.

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      or MS Cloud…

  • http://www.guillaumeb.com/ GuillaumeB

    Two ideas
    Microsoft Drive… obvious choice

    or
    Microsoft Office Drive

    Skydrive was actually pretty good

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      OfficeDrive or Outlook(.com) Drive are both Microsofty (Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office)

  • http://www.guillaumeb.com/ GuillaumeB

    Two ideas
    Microsoft Drive… obvious choice

    or
    Microsoft Office Drive

    Skydrive was actually pretty good

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      OfficeDrive or Outlook(.com) Drive are both Microsofty (Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office)

  • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

    I am really pissed on this one. The Metro thing I tolerated but this… this?!
    This goes to show how messed up the patent system is today. That being said, I do not forget when Microsoft was after Lindows. Cruel karma.

    Why do popular things on Microsoft have to die?

    Update: Now, will this possible rebrand be restricted in the EU only? Wasn’t Google sued over “Gmail” and thus it is legally called “Google Mail” over there though everybody calls it Gmail.

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Gmail is Gmail now again over here and has been for a few years now (UK and Germany – where Google had its European challenge. Google won it the end!)

      An EU or UK naming rebrand/restriction for SkyDrive is unlikely no company want to market the same product differently in different markets. better to rename for all than have the half effect as well BSkyB is owned by News Corporation that multinational and the ‘Sky’ brand tho mainly a UK company is also overseas like Australia, Germany and Italy!

      • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

        I’m starting to think European judges just plainly hate Microsoft.

    • Ray Wall

      I think the difference is that Lindows was intentionally trying sound like Windows not to mention they were actually trying to make its version of Linux look and behave similar to Windows. I do not believe that SkyDrive was trying to appear to be a part of BSkyB nor capitalize off of their name.

      • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

        Touché

  • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe Morales

    I am really pissed on this one. The Metro thing I tolerated but this… this?!
    This goes to show how messed up the patent system is today. That being said, I do not forget when Microsoft was after Lindows. Cruel karma.

    Why do popular things on Microsoft have to die?

    Update: Now, will this possible rebrand be restricted in the EU only? Wasn’t Google sued over “Gmail” and thus it is legally called “Google Mail” over there though everybody calls it Gmail.

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Gmail is Gmail now again over here and has been for a few years now (UK and Germany – where Google had its European challenge. Google won it the end!)

      An EU or UK naming rebrand/restriction for SkyDrive is unlikely unlikely no company want to market the same product differently in different markets. better to rename for all than have the half effect as BSkyB is owned by News Corperation that multinational and the ‘Sky’ brand tho mainly a UK company is also overseas like Australia, Germany and Italy!

      • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe Morales

        I’m starting to think European judges just plainly hate Microsoft.

    • Ray Wall

      I think the difference is that Lindows was intentionally trying sound like Windows not to mention they were actually trying to make its version of Linux look and behave similar to Windows. I do not believe that SkyDrive was trying to appear to be a part of BSkyB nor capitalize off of their name.

      • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe Morales

        Touché

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    You know what I would do? I would keep the SkyDrive name in the US and tell the EU folks to stick it. If you don’t like it, then block it. It’s their loss anyways. I can’t believe that Microsoft would let themselves get pushed around by a dumb British company anyways. Sky are a bunch of clowns.

    • Guest

      ‘murica!

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    You know what I would do? I would keep the SkyDrive name in the US and tell the EU folks to stick it. If you don’t like it, then block it. It’s their loss anyways. I can’t believe that Microsoft would let themselves get pushed around by a dumb British company anyways. Sky are a bunch of clowns.

    • Fred Bill Nietsche

      ‘murica!

  • Amber H

    Live Mesh, Mesh, Folder Sync, Live Spaces, Windows Spaces. Rebranding a product with a previous name would be consistent with a confusing past practice!

  • Amber H

    Live Mesh, Mesh, Folder Sync, Live Spaces, Windows Spaces. Rebranding a product with a previous name would be consistent with a confusing past practice!

  • Lollygum

    Maybe they could have argued that SkyDrive is one word, but the capital D kills that argument i suppose.

    Notice that BSkyB apparently don’t have a problem with ‘Skype’.

  • Lollygum

    Maybe they could have argued that SkyDrive is one word, but the capital D kills that argument i suppose.

    Notice that BSkyB apparently don’t have a problem with ‘Skype’.