In what must be seen as a humiliating blow, Microsoft is being forced to change the name for cloud service “SkyDrive”.

This is being done in response to litigation from British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB) over their trademark. Microsoft seem to have caved and have agreed to change the name of their massively popular worldwide cloud sharing service.

This is the second time that Microsoft have picked a bad name and had to rebrand – remember this is similar to a European legal dispute where Microsoft agreed to stop using the term “Metro” for its Windows 8 user interface and applications.

In that case, German company Metro AG disagreed with Microsoft’s use of the word Metro and successfully quashed the use of the term by the software giant.

This is very odd for such a large software company to roll out MAJOR software products without pre-clearing the brand names first.

A MAJOR fail.

What do you guys and girls think?

About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. ( and The Redmond Cloud (

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  1. So, why not call it SkyDryve

  2. These kind of MAJOR misteps are why Microsoft can’t get ahead of the curve. I bet it will cause shares to fall

  3. Robert W. Burnham / July 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm /Reply

    Both seem like trivial cases that should have been tossed out.

    • No Robert, MS should have seen this trivial case coming. This was a Microsoft misstep, Microsoft is stupid. There, I think I just summed up most of the idiotic comments that will be posted here. Edit// ok the rest of this comment was kind of harsh towards the site, because I think this a bad example of their work. So, I removed it. But seriously author, “A MAJOR fail.”.. for using Sky? Really, we can’t use Sky? I really hope that future articles are of a higher caliber or quality, I’ll leave it at that.

      • LOL

        No a major fail because their Legal department and research departments are paid to avoid precisely this kind of debacle.

        No excuses at this level – should never have happened.

        • Whoa, Onuora responds, I still disagree. I agree that their legal department should avoid any kind of reasonable debacle like this, but in this case, it isn’t exactly reasonable. It would be similar to Microsoft suing you for previous site names even if there are a few differences between these circumstances. If every company that could sue for something like this did so… I have noticed the coverage of this was different than most other sites. I know you say it is because you don’t answer to anyone while other bloggers and journalists have an effective muzzle because of sponsors and advertisers , but validating a litigious suit like this, something which I didn’t encounter in any of the other articles I have read so far (and to be fair I have only read three others) to me doesn’t reflect well on this site. We can go back and forth on this issue if you want but it wouldn’t really accomplish anything, fwiw that is how I see it.

          • Your opinion’s 1000% valid.

            Thanks for the comment.


          • For a bit of context, I wasn’t just blindly commenting. When I checked Tess (the trademark search engine for the US), there were several Sky derivatives that might be lawsuit worthy, from electronic companies, to educational supply companies, some of them sounded like they could be off-shoots or products of BSkyB. It could be fairly argued that these are all U.S. companies and not multinational, that is plausible I didn’t dig too deep. However, if you do a Trade Mark text search for Sky in the UK, it is hard to tell how “lawsuit worthy” the results would be, because instead of getting results, you receive this message “Your search returned over 1000 results, please refine your criteria.” Some of these are certainly references to the plaintiff, but it is almost a certainty that just as it is here, there are probably tech companies and other companies whos names could plausibly sound like they are an off-shoot or product of BSkyB. Usually when we say fail, it is because someone does something that is clearly stupid, or something of that nature. However their legal department stamping this as a passible name given the circumstances does seem to make sense, and to me, saying it is a big fail on their part is kind of like armchair quarterbacking a game from last week. However, thanks for being gracious as usual.

          • That’s valid too BUT I have to assume that a billion dollar company pays a lot of lawyers, patent attorneys and researchers to avoid just this type of stuff.

            They have been let down by their people.

            It really doesn’t matter whether what SKY did was reasonable, what matters is that a court let them get away with it and thats the bottom line.

            In addition, this is the SECOND time this has happened so it’s even worse IMHO.

            At this point with all the patent and name trolling, safer to just make up a word and like it or not, it just makes the company look bad.

            Lastly, this was a name for a MAJOR product with millions of people on it. It’s not like LiveWriter or something minor, its SKYDRIVE. It’s at the heart of their ecosystem message.

            I am not happy about it either but there are no excuses at this level of competition.

          • It would be easier for everyone if American companies just stayed out of the EU (no hate to the EU, I have some good friends there, but I think you know what I mean)…

          • too much money to be had from Europe … some American companies get over 50% of their income from there … some movies do lousy in America but fantastic overseas … some products never take off here, but do great in the UK … can’t cut off your nose to spite your face. You go where the demand is …

          • Yeah, sorry if I wasn’t clear, that last part wasn’t serious, I know why they don’t and can’t. With some of these stupid cases that come up though, some courts in the EU are a PITA.

          • Rodney Longoria / July 31, 2013 at 8:13 pm

            Why didn’t the Metro AG company get sued by the Geo Metro folks? Kidding…

  4. Call it CloudStorage

  5. Stewart Gandy / July 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm /Reply

    Why not just call it The Drive.

  6. Why don’t they just use G-Drive:)

  7. Kristján Guðnason / July 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm /Reply

    Everything can be called cloud this, cloud that but not sky. If microsoft wants to be ahead for once they should name it “SpaceDrive”. That way residents on the moon should not be left out because of lack of atmosphere 🙂

  8. Dmytro Khomenko / July 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm /Reply

    i don’t care about SkyDrive, Dropbox forever!)

    • James Rutherford / July 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm /Reply

      Dropbox ftw, shame Microsoft was determined to integrate SkyDrive into Office 2013

      • I understand where you are coming from, really. However, if you are someone who is using windows 8 (and even better with the testing I am doing of 8.1) it’s integration is getting pretty slick. And with 45 GB of space (25 GB for free, and 20 GB as part of the $10 a month office 360) for me at least Skydrive suddenly becomes a more viable option.

        • James Rutherford / August 1, 2013 at 3:58 am /Reply

          As I use Windows 7 as a main OS, despite I have Windows 8 on a test machine, I guess I see it from the Windows 7 point of view. Once Windows 8.1 come out, I will probably install and reconsider my opinions about SkyDrive

  9. BSkyB? How does that have to do with SkyDrive?

    • James Rutherford / July 31, 2013 at 4:28 pm /Reply

      BSkyB provides services like Sky+ and others in UK, Sky being a TV service. (Incase you didn’t know)
      If they find something to have a go at for, they will have a go at them for it.

  10. Peter L Tomaino / July 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm /Reply

    MicroCloud ( I thought of it here ! ) So if they want use it , I sell it to them for 500k

  11. ‘MicroSky’
    or just ‘SkyDryve’ ,from what the Kid-Coach said

  12. i would think that the failing of windows 8 would be bad enough. windows 8=windows hate. as far as skydrive- a minor misstep only so many names to go around. seems between xbox 180 and the windows 8 tablet that nobody wanted or bought, they have a major disaster on their hands- and his last name is balmer.

  13. Rodney Longoria / July 31, 2013 at 3:26 pm /Reply

    Hah! Piss someone off just for sh*ts and grins and call it “EyeDrive”. Oh wait, NSA is using that, right? 😉

  14. I don’t know. Both of these cases seem pretty stupid to me. I agree with Robert. I think both should have been tossed out. Seriously – we can’t use as generic a term as Sky? Some company in Britain has the word sky in their name and the rest of the world can no longer use it? Honestly, are the rest of us going to have to start pointing up in the air and calling it “that big blue thing with the flaming yellow ball?” We can’t use the word Sun – because Sun Microsystems owns that. (I guess technically it would be Oracle now, but you get the point.) You know someone somewhere has “cloud” trademarked. We probably can’t even use “big blue” because that’s IBM. It gets kind of ridiculous at some point.

    It might be different if BSkyB actually had a product called SkyDrive before Microsoft used the term, but it didn’t. Apparently it had a discontinued product named ‘Sky Store and Share.’ It seems pretty unlikely that anyone would get SkyDrive confused with a product that doesn’t exist anymore. And certainly no one outside the EU would.

    Personally, I think Microsoft felt pretty much the same way. It seemed like it was a no-brainer, but the EU has not been especially friendly to Microsoft. Perhaps if they should have seen anything coming, it would be that the EU would rule in favor of such a baseless case.

    For Microsoft though, it’s probably easier to just cave and rename. Continuing the case would undoubtedly cost crazy amounts of money and after just writing off $900 million, that probably doesn’t seem like the best option anymore.

    • Excellent analysis.

      I think it would have been too much of a pain in the ass for MSFT to fight it.

    • Rodney Longoria / July 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm /Reply

      I too agree with you all the way on this one, @JohnnyG321:disqus !

      They ought to make a deal with CBS and Paramount to call it “WarpDrive”. Heh!

    • Good analysis…if anything I think this article is poorly written. To claim that it is a major fail is silly IMO…since like you said they shouldn’t have had to change the name in both cases but it’s cheaper to just give in than pay lawyers to fight it in court.

  15. Call it “Moon Base”. Then their motto could be “All your base are belong to us”.

  16. Adam Rochefort / July 31, 2013 at 6:47 pm /Reply

    The problem as I see it, how can anyone come up with any new product name these days that accurately describes their product without supposedly infringing upon the trademark of some other name? “Modern UI” isn’t exactly descriptive enough, but “Metro Interface” does make sense. To me the degree of offense should be proportional to how similar the industries are to each other. Metro AG isn’t a high tech company nor does their logo look anything like the font of Metro/ModernUI/whatever. Also how does a broadcasting company relate in any way to skydrive? It’s not as if they’re known beyond their borders, whereas skydrive has been used internationally for several years. If you are big enough someone will always take aim at you. However if you begin to cave in to unreasonable demands the other predators start to smell the fear and begin to pounce. Microsoft needs to stand by their products more, though their marketing/advertising could do with some work.

  17. As Microsoft have Windows Live, why not call it LiveDrive!

  18. stephen bates / July 31, 2013 at 11:39 pm /Reply

    seems totally stupid to me after all if I called one of my programs microdrive does that mean the name belongs to Microsoft or whatever as far as I knew as long as the name isn’t exactly the same then you can use it look at the amount of people folding companies then reopening them as a variant of the previous name so as to get out of paying their bills

  19. Absolute nonsense, just a word and this has to happen? I only hope the firm is indeed the first to use “sky” and “B” as trademarks. Should’ve been have thrown out cos their case lacks merit.

  20. Alberto Gorin / August 1, 2013 at 3:54 am /Reply

    how long does microsft use skydrive ?
    and sudden after years can t use cause of broadcasting sky ?
    that means with evry name you have to check the world if that name is t used
    in other name thats qrazyyyyy

  21. I think they should call SkyDrive “SkypeDrive” — i think that would be funny.

  22. I think Microsoft just has such a ” swelled head ” they think no one is going to buck them – which has proven not to be true three times now (Metro, Skydrive and previously with the IE monopoly case in the UK). They are just so “dense” they don’t get it.

  23. How about “MYCLOUD” and I want a half mil for that one lol!

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