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In recent weeks, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has admitted very publicly that it has bungled the marketing around its Live Search search engine. The company now plans to spend up to $100 million to fix its image in the market, according to a report in AdAge. Microsoft has hired ad agency JWT to run an online, TV, print and radio campaign that will coincide with a Spring relaunch of Live Search that is expected to introduce new features to the search engine as well as possibly a new brand name, Kumo. AdAge says that the “forthcoming campaign will be careful to not position ‘Kumo’ as a competitor to Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) or Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and instead cast it as a reimagined search engine that ups the game by yielding fewer but more-focused results.”
It obviously isn’t clear that the major ad campaign will boost Microsoft’s market share. AdAge notes that despite launching a big advertising campaign in 2007, Ask.com’s market share nevertheless decreased and the company has since cut its ad budget. But Microsoft is definitely a believer in the power of ads (After all, it’s spending $300 million on an overall campaign to boost its image). And the company is convinced that perceptions of its search product — and not the product itself — are responsible for its lackluster market share, which badly trails Yahoo and Google. A Microsoft spokeswoman would not comment.