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The countdown to Microsoft's Kumo

A clock on Microsoft's campus reportedly shows that the software maker plans to launch its Kumo search engine in 40 days.

Microsoft has reportedly put up a clock in one of its buildings with a 40-day countdown to the launch of its next-generation search engine, code-named Kumo.

Enthusiast site LiveSide noted on Sunday that a reader on Neowin, another enthusiast site, said that Microsoft had a TV in one of its search buildings with the countdown clock.

The software maker has been testing its search engine internally since last month, but has not said exactly when the service would launch. The countdown appears to roughly coincide with a speech from newly minted online boss Qi Lu, who is slated to speak at the SMX Advanced event on June 3. The timing also seems to coincide with reports that Microsoft plans a big ad campaign for its search engine starting this summer.

Microsoft declined to comment on the clock or its plans for Kumo.

Although Microsoft is testing the search engine under the Kumo name, executives have said that is just one of several names the company is considering.

The stakes for Microsoft are high. The software maker has remained a distant third in the search market behind Google and Yahoo, a position that makes it tough for the company to get the scale it needs to make money in the business. Even inside its own walls, Microsoft has struggled to get the use of its search engine where it would like.

Early screenshots of Kumo, seen by CNET News, show that the revamped search engine focuses on a couple of areas, including an attempt to break down a search query into a couple more detailed options. When searching, say, for the term "Audi," Kumo breaks things down into an initial result with facts such as price and fuel economy pulled out in bold, followed by general Web results, then results by category, such as Audi parts, used Audis, and Audi accessories.