Microsoft Can't Get A Break; How About A Bottle Of Windows 99?

In a short story about the value of names and the nature of domain names, Upside Today had a blurb that we thought you may be interested in. It seems that beleaguered Microsoft has run into yet another problem, this time in Russia, where a Vodka manufacturer has introduced a new product it calls "Windows 99," complete with the Windows logo. We are not kidding. According to Upside Today:

In 1999, a struggling Russian vodka company introduced a new beer to the market called "Windows 99," and its label sported the familiar symbol seen on Microsoftis (MSFT) best-selling product. It was an odd strategy for a beer maker, but a great marketing scheme in Russiais new free-reign economy.

The news was sobering for makers of the software of the same name. Microsoft had already struggled with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over naming its software product, and it would have a tougher time fighting a legal battle in a country where U.S. trademarks donit extend.

"Microsoft had a billion-dollar headache trying to put a trademark on its Windows products," says Naseem Javed, an expert in corporate nomenclature. The author of five books and hundreds of presentations, Javed has helped many companies sift through potential problems with corporate identity.

Russiais nascent capitalist economy has often been described as the new "Wild West," and this incident is a perfect example. You can find more information in the full article at Upside Today. Another excellent Upside Today piece has more information on the Russian economy in general. It too is a very good read.