Rumours abound that Microsoft may be rebranding its misfiring 'Live Search' search engine as Kumo.

According to TechCrunch, the rebrand will kick in next year, despite a recent raft of changes to Microsoft's Live software.

When it was launched in September 2006, Live Search represented a major push by Microsoft to break back into a market that Google had quickly come to dominate.

Changes

But despite having advantages like being used as the default search engine within popular browser Internet Explorer, Live Search has failed to become a true competitor to Google.

With Jerry Yang moving aside at Yahoo!, talk of Microsoft buying into its rival's search business has resurfaced, but it seems unlikely that this is linked with any new brand.

We're reliably informed that Kumo means 'Cloud' or 'Spider' (no, we don't understand how that works either), and the domain kumo.com has indeed been snapped up by the Redmond company.

While we contacted Microsoft about the news, as expected, the company has declined to comment.