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The Roundup May 28

Remember “Bob”?

Bing, the name Microsoft gave to the new search service it unveiled Thursday, is its answer to Google . . .

Microsoft’s marketing gurus hope that Bing will evoke neither a type of cherry nor a strip club on “The Sopranos” but rather a sound — the ringing of a bell that signals the “aha” moment when a search leads to an answer.

The name is meant to conjure “the sound of found” as Bing helps people with complex tasks like shopping for a camera, said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft’s online audience business group.

(“Microsoft’s Search for a Name Ends With a Bing ,” New York Times, May 28) I have been in the branding business for many years, folks, and invariably names like Google and TiVo hit big largely because of the underlying product. Granted, if Google had been called “Live Search,” we wouldn’t be saying “Let’s livesearch it.” But that has nothing to do with the virtues of the name “Google” (which, by the way, they didn’t have to use multimillion dollar branding firms to come up with) as with the problem with a two word, mashed potato name like Live Search. As those of us who remember Microsoft Bob, the Redmond giant has a long history of cute names attached to losing products. Forgettable product always means forgettable name.

Funny that the pay cut does not include the governor or the legislature of California.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a 5% cut in 200,000 state workers’ salaries. Combined with existing mandatory furloughs, that would mean about a 15% pay cut for those workers. . . .

The proposal, to be announced Friday, would save the state $470 million, David said, and is part of the governor’s plan to close a projected $24-billion budget gap.

(“Schwarzenegger proposes 5% cut in state worker salaries,” Los Angeles Times, May 28) Since state employees have already been forced to take a 10% pay cut in the form of furloughs (and some agencies are refusing to allow their employees to take the time off, so these furloughs are, for some, simply wage cuts), this adds up to a 15% wage cut. All this to chop off a measley 2% from the looming budget deficit. Funny how the folks responsible for this budget mess — starting with the governor — aren’t taking any pay cuts . . . We’re preparing a long post on California and what this means to entrepreneurs. Stay tuned as we watch the state of California go out of business.

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