When Microsoft launched their free weblog service, MSN Spaces, many of you (this writer included) might have thought that you'd seen that name before in a similar context. You'd be right. Edict, a company based in Rochester, MI, have been offering a package of services to businesses since January 2003 which includes a weblog feature.
Tor Hough from Edict told us that the first they heard about the clash was when customers asked if they'd sold their product to Microsoft. "We were stunned! On Dec 2nd when Microsoft launched their service in the US a search of "Spaces and Weblog" on MSN or Google returned us on the first page of results. We are baffled that Microsoft could have missed the overlap in names. As they continue to ignore our attempts to communicate with them, we've begun to speculate that knew about us and simply don't care."
Edict's letters to Microsoft have so far gone un-answered, and they've received no direct contact from the company. Edict told us that lawyers had commented that their case was "strong", but legal costs would be high against one of the worlds biggest software companies; perhaps too high for the company to even contemplate. Interestingly, Edict found it surprisingly difficult to get help from a law firm that didn't have a conflict of interest by having Microsoft on the books.
We asked Microsoft about this rather 'amazing' coincidence; a spokesperson for the company told us "When determining naming for product offerings, MSN takes appropriate steps to ensure naming does not infringe on the trademark rights of any third party, as is the case with the naming of MSN Spaces." They declined to answer questions about whether the similarity in names was simply a coincidence or whether the company would be considering a name change for its blogging service. At best, this incident represents a tremendous lack of research in the MSN PR department; one hopes this isn't the case. Expect more to come in the coming weeks.
View: MSN Spaces