Microsoft Ponders Rebranding MSN?

According to the Internet rumor mill (and hinted at by at least one Microsoft-produced Web page), Microsoft Corporation is struggling with part of its identity again: this time, the company appears to be considering emphasizing its efforts as a digital media provider by rechristening its MSN online service as the “MSN Media Network.”

The story began gathering steam earlier this week when Chris Overd of the blog LiveSide reported on the possible name change, along with MSN’s existing video service expanding into both movies and television programming.

The move would certainly emphasize Microsoft’s view of the Internet as a significant media format, particularly in the wake of the company’s continuing dissolution of its partnership with NBC. Rumors also abound the Microsoft plans to produce podcast content (such as celebrity interviews), which would put exclusive content on the service as well as enabling it to serve as a distribution channel for existing media houses. (

However, renaming an established brand like MSN may further confuse Microsoft’s product identification to consumers. Microsoft has been applying its new “Live” label on virtually all its major products, including Microsoft Office and the Windows operating system itself. Although MSN Media Network would presumably focus on consumer-oriented digital media