"Any secondary meaning or fame Apple has in 'App Store' is de facto secondary meaning that cannot convert the generic term 'app store' into a protectable trademark," and went on to say "Apple cannot block competitors from using a generic name. 'App store' is generic and therefore in the public domain and free for all competitors to use." (Via TechFlash)After looking through the article a couple times, it seems Microsoft has a point. I mean, what if Henry Ford copyrighted the term Automobile or Car? I can understand and respect the fact that there are some things in this world that are too generic to copyright. Tissues, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, cars and flour can fall under these categories and you'll see no debate from my end. There seems to be curious motives to which Microsoft seeks public domain rights for the term 'App Store.' Is Microsoft looking out for the common man's best interests and simply wants the term 'App Store' to be in the same grammatical category as tissues and plastic wrap? Microsoft, the company that was put in it's place by the European Union for violating ani-trust and monopoly laws which forced to allow users to choose their browser upon start up, is looking out for the common man? I'm certainly in no position to determine if Microsoft is sincerely looking out for the best interests of the public in this manner, but I am in the position to look at the other side of the fence as an outsider. It appears to me that Microsoft is merely attempting to grandstand and stay in the media, through the use of their lawyers, because they weren't the talk of CES. Where were all the Windows 7 tablets Ballmer promised? Microsoft can be great at a lot of things. I attribute at least 10 pounds of my slightly overweight status to Microsoft and their Xbox. I would have been the first in line for their Courier tablet because I believed it would have blown away anything on the market at that time, including iOS. That being said Microsoft seems to be to focused on immediate market share results rather than sticking behind a product. The Kin phone is a perfect example - the phone didn't have substantial market share gains in the first 6-8 weeks and the project was immediately abandoned. Imagine for a moment if Nasa gave up on the moon after the first try? The rocket didn't launch so 'oh-well?' It took Apple ten years to move their MacOS market share from 5% to 10%. Had they given up the world would look dramatically different from a technology standpoint and I wouldn't be even writing about this topic. My point is Microsoft needs to stand by their products and their branding and firmly believe in what they're doing. They need to look at their branding of their 'App Store' called the 'Marketplace' and look at it analytically. If I was in charge, my Microsoft marketplace would encompass absolutely everything Microsoft - Windows Desktop, Phone, Xbox, Windows Media and so on. My commercials would say that we're not an app store because we're so much more than apps, we're truly a marketplace to connect all your devices. I feel as though they try to do that yet they need a better system in place to execute this more fluidly - at least from my perspective of how things are run. Having never used a Windows 7 phone for more than 6 minutes perhaps everything is, could be, tied in together in the shortcoming future. I'm basing my opinion on the data I've seen that indicates everything Microsoft is touching these days is simply falling apart. A PC World article indicated that in 6 weeks Windows 7 manufacturers shipped 1.5 million phones to retailers - very different than retailers selling 1.5 million phones mind you. Perhaps if Microsoft would tell us what some of their products did, consumers would buy them. Their latest campaign for Window 7 phones does very little to tell us anything about the actual product . Unfortunately for their ad department people are going to be glued to their phones for quite some time and have no desire to be saved from their phones. Eventually they'll get bored and move on to the next thing. What's interesting to me though, is not more than one year prior Microsoft seemingly wanted folks to be obsessed with their phones while at trendy hipster apartment/artspace shows with bands that significantly overused in marketing. I think their phone department alone warrants change within the confines of Redmond. Unfortunately until critics hold feet to the fire we won't see much change with the executive staff. We will continue to see false promises and unsupported products from Microsoft until they ultimately have no pull with the consumers or governments and eventually be sold off to HP and use for the Microsoft division is strictly for spreadsheets. I only care and bring this up because I'm a fan of competition, I think it makes everybody better. Right now, Microsoft is only competing in the desktop OS and console gaming departments, even though they have products in every other division. Ballmer himself said that companies move forward or become less relevant. So I ask, is Microsoft as relevant as they were in 95' or 00'?
Techflash, this morning, had an interesting article regarding Microsoft claming foul on Apple's attempt to trademark the term 'App Store.' I won't quote the entire article (but will link below), but the Microsoft lawyers said the following