Microsoft is reasonably protective of its name -- even to ridiculous
levels at times. However, it surprised us to find out that a company other than the Redmond giant happens to have the trademark on Microsoft in Portugal. In fact, that company is now trying to sell the name on eBay
. The big Microsoft has to go by the name MSFT in Portugal, as the local company registered the name long before Microsoft moved into Portugal. Not surprisingly, the little Portuguese Microsoft has tried to sell the name to the big American Microsoft, but apparently the process was taking too long, so it just decided to throw the name up on eBay. The Freakonomics guys were just having a discussion about the Coase Theorem
when it comes to domain names, and if you follow their reasoning, then it would suggest that the US-based Microsoft should eventually wind up with the name, as it must be more valuable to it than to anyone else. That seems reasonable, but in the meantime, it might be fun to imagine who else might want to buy it...