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Microsoft Never Found a Name It Couldn't Change

Every time Microsoft changes a name for no apparent reason (product managers have to do something) I give the company a good, sound beating.

This all starts with code names, which are usually pretty good. That almost always gets tossed for the first real name. After a while the company gets antsy and changes the first real name to the second real name. Think of all the names Windows has gone through. It's been based on versions like Windows 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. Years like Windows 95, 98 and 2000. Random words and letters such as XP, Me and Vista. And back to numbers, as in 7 and 8.

Redmond columnist Mary Jo Foley is also perplexed by all this and actually began tracking all the name changes in a spreadsheet, presumably Excel -- one of the few products that still has its original name.

One problem is the new name can make an old product appear as if it's just released. Microsoft Account sounds new, but is really Live ID (which I still think of as Passport). Foley also notes that all the Live tools have had their names done away with. And SQL Azure, which sounds pretty cool, is now Windows Azure SQL Database. Catchy, eh?

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/11/2013 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Sat, Jan 12, 2013

More important than the Name although I agree with you, is the changes to the UI. Initially the UI was fairly consistant between versions of Windows and Office. Now they change the UI, without much change in functionality, and I think withou much thought. I see that the developers are probably not the users because the UI is more and more difficult to use not easier. Maybe the training department needed more canidates. This is a major reason Applications like Open Office, etc are grabing a larger and larger share of the market.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 Dan Iowa

I call B.S.! If you're going to start out the slow news day by nit-picking how many names Windows has had, then don't say Excel still has its real name, in the same article. Excel has had as many different names as... well... Office. It has had a different version for pretty much every version of Office. Sure everybody calls it Excel instead of Excel XP or Excel 2010 or whatever... Just like many people call Windows... well... Windows. The truth is Windows has been known as Windows since the days of its inception. Why am I nit-picking about your nit-picking? I don't know. I guess it sounds more exciting than nit-picking about what they call this version or that version of Windows.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013

It's all marketing BS, and MS is not alone in this. The "Idea Guys" always have to have a new idea cause if they didn't where would they be. God forbid they have something that works and it stays the same, how would they justify their existance. Technology as a whiole has this problem, it is not just MS, The Internet is now "The Cloud", Analytics are "Big Data" ya got Notebooks, Laptops, Pad, Tablets, and Ultrbooks... I could go on.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 John Phoenix AZ

Would a Microsoft product by any other name smell just as...ahhh...sweet? :-P

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 Freddy Krueger Steam Tunnels

Ohhh... I get it. WASQL, like WASQL-y wabbit!

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 Bryan Nieznajko

The one product nomenclature I've never understood is the OS. 3.1, 4.0, 95, 98, Millenium, 2000, XP, Vista, then WINDOWS 7 and 8??? At least the server names have stayed the same since 2000. Has Microsoft ever clearly answered their thought process behind naming?

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 Michael Domingo, Editor, 1105 Media Irvine, CA

WASQLdb. Catchy, indeed!

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