In 2008, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN, the non-profit corporation charged with coordinating the Internet’s naming system and ensuring the stability and security of the Internet), approved a plan to launch new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) that will complement the current structure of Internet addresses based on “.com,” “.net,” “.org” and others.
Yesterday in London, ICANN published a list of more than 2,000 applications for new gTLDs from businesses and organizations around the world. Yesterday’s event was the culmination of years of work by ICANN and others to redefine the Web and how users interact with governments, organizations, companies and brands online.
During this process, Microsoft took a selective approach and applied for 11 new top-level domain names, most of which correspond to our existing trademarked products, services and brands which reach hundreds of millions of users around the world – .microsoft, .windows, .xbox, .office, .docs, .bing, .skype, .live, .skydrive, .hotmail and .azure.
Our goal for our new TLDs is to promote responsible utilization of the Web and ultimately better experiences for consumers. Although we’re not yet talking about specific plans for the TLDs for which we’ve applied, we believe that – properly used – this expansion of domains can help deliver new services and capabilities to consumers and the Internet community as a whole. Appropriately utilized, the new TLDs can also protect the rights of trademark holders and brand owners, while promoting a safer and more secure computing experience.
With so many new gTLD applications, there are bound to be cases where multiple players have applied for the same top-level domain, and ICANN has processes in place to help resolve those cases. We are just now reviewing all of the applications by other companies and organizations. We will work closely with ICANN and others to ensure competition and innovation are preserved for the industry, while also helping protect the rights and expectations of other stakeholders.
At Microsoft, we are motivated and inspired every day by how people use our software, services and hardware to find creative solutions to important problems, to develop breakthrough ideas, and to stay connected to individuals, groups, events and information. The expansion of the domain name space has the opportunity to enhance those experiences. We look forward to the road ahead.
Posted by Craig Mundie
Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft