Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Microsoft's Mega Fail in Project Naming

A long time ago, Rio had a MP3 player called the Chiba. Then Google had a payment system they called GBuy before renaming it to Google Checkout. Now, Microsoft calls their latest software project Ciba which they describe it as "a generic static analyzer based on abstract interpretation for the modular analysis and verification of Java classes".

Unbeknownst to them, the term actually sounds very similar to the hokkien for a female private part, and is often used as a profanity. This website has an explanation of the term and of course, popular Singaporean mrbrown also had something to say about this as well. :) The Twittersphere is now awash with people mocking the name with #cibai becoming the top trending topic for a short while.

Lesson learnt : It sure makes sense (and is worth the trouble) to make sure that you check your product naming in all possible languages to see if it has any negative connotations before using. :)

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