Microsoft relinquishes SkyDrive brand

The software giant is going to rebrand its cloud storage service, following a settlement with British Sky Broadcasting Group over rights to the "Sky" name.

SkyDrive as it appears in a Windows 8.1 start screen tile, at lower left. Microsoft

Microsoft is going to be rebranding SkyDrive, its cloud storage service, following its loss of a trademark battle with British Sky Broadcasting Group over the "Sky" name.

As reported on Wednesday by The Verge's Tom Warren, Microsoft has decided not to appeal its recent loss and is going to rebrand SkyDrive instead of fight for the name.

A joint press release by Microsoft and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) explained the decision. From that release:

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.

Microsoft executives are not saying when they plan to rebrand SkyDrive or what the new name for the service will be.

I guess this means SkyDrive Pro also will be getting a new name.

BSkyB, partly owned by News Corp., won the initial judgment in the England and Wales High Court against Microsoft over infringing the Sky trademark earlier this month.

BSkyB is one of the largest providers of paid television subscriptions in the U.K. and Europe. Sky has begun providing mobile applications and online streaming services to try to expand its large customer base and remain competitive in consideration of what the average consumer now expects. These new services also happen to use cloud-based technology. In addition, the company used to offer its own cloud-based storage service, Sky Store & Share, before closing in December 2011.

This isn't the first time Microsoft is being required to change one of its brands because of a naming dispute.

In 2012, Microsoft dropped the "Metro" name which it had been using to refer to its new design language and user interface for Windows and Windows Phone. Company executives said Metro was just a code name, even though it was widely used in marketing and other materials. Microsoft never said that the reason for discontinuing Metro was due to a trademark dispute, but many company watchers believe a dispute with retailer Metro AG led to Microsoft's decision to steer clear of Metro.

Microsoft never made it clear what the replacement for "Metro" was. Different divisions at the company use different terms, including "Modern" and "Windows Store" as synonyms for Metro/Metro-Style.

If you were to rebrand SkyDrive, what would you go with? How about Azure Drive? Other thoughts?

This story originally appeared as "Microsoft to rebrand SkyDrive after losing trademark skirmish" on ZDNet.

About the author

    Mary Jo Foley has been a tech journalist for almost 30 years. She is editor of ZDNet's "All About Microsoft" blog. She authored "Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era" and co-hosts the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT Network.

     

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