Big Microsoft news coming?

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Ad Age and others have reported that not only is Microsoft planning to replace its Live Search with a new search engine — rumored to be titled "Bing" — but it's planning a huge branding push for the engine to the tune of up to $100 million with the help of agency JWT.

Microsoft, through a spokesperson, declined comment. However, the truth may not be that far off: It is rumored that CEO Steve Ballmer will make all things clear at this week's D: All Things Digital conference in San Diego. This has led me to continually refresh Twitter, searching on #D7, for any news from the show.

One wonders if there will be marketing messages directed to search marketers as part of the $80 million to $100 million push. The supposed goal is to position the new engine as superior to Google, similar to the Mac vs. PC ad battles — but surely if enough consumers can be persuaded to make the switch, search advertisers would be very interested as well.
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