Ten

Names for Windows XP sans Media Player

Denied the actual list of names submitted by Microsoft to the EC, we felt it our duty to do our best guesstimating.

This column requires a bit of introduction, in part because the meat of the column, the actual 10 items, won't take up much space, and I've got to fill the page somehow.

First the European Commission (EC) found Microsoft guilty of antitrust violations and forced it to sell in Europe a version of Windows XP without the Windows Media Player, to level the playing field for other media players. As if that and a fine of more than $600 million weren't harsh enough, the EC also demanded (free) naming rights for the new version.

Including its initial proposal, Microsoft submitted 10 names for consideration, all of which the EC rejected. But not without good reason. The EC, it turned out, came up with a name of its own: Windows XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional Edition N. The N, of course, refers to the Windows Media Player—as in, "no," "nay," "never," "nein," "non," "nej." I can hear the Brits now: "Brilliant!"

When this news broke, our News Editor, Scott Bekker, was without Internet access, left alone in his office with nothing to do but think—a volatile situation. Sure enough, Scott called me up and said, "This is a natural Ten column."

I readily agreed and immediately sent e-mail to Microsoft's PR folks, asking for the list of rejected names, and explaining why I wanted them. "It's Bekker's fault," I said. "It was all his idea. Don't blame me." Not that it mattered. "We are not able to participate in this particular opportunity," a spokesman replied. Not one to let a good column idea die for a small matter like a near-complete lack of facts, I have decided to instead simply guess what the rejected names were.

10. Windows XP Reduced Media Edition.
I say "near-complete" lack of facts because we do know that this name was rejected. And I can see why. "Reduced Media" just doesn't have the same marketing panache as "N." I'm sure the EC was simply trying to save Microsoft from making a horrible, costly mistake.

9. Windows XP Stick in Your Eye Edition.
This was Bekker's contribution to the madness that he, after all, started. It is much appreciated, but I have to believe that, had his Internet connection gone out again, I would've gotten a couple more ideas out of him.

8. Windows XP King Solomon Edition.
This one got some consideration from the European Union countries that still have a monarchy, which thought Microsoft was throwing them a bone. Then the collective, "Hey, wait a minute, wise-guy" hit, at which point Britain threatened to revoke Bill Gates' honorary knighthood.

7. Windows XP Pepé Edition.
The EC saw right through this attempt at subliminal messaging on Microsoft's part. "Pepé," of course, refers to Pepé Le Pew, the amorous skunk with the French accent. Pepé was lovable and certainly tried hard, but let's face it—he stunk, mon ami.

6. Don't Buy This Edition of Windows XP Edition.
Subtle, yes?

5. Windows XP Happy? Happy Now? Edition.
Inspired by the scene from "High Anxiety" when the bellboy that Mel Brooks had been bugging for a newspaper brings it to him while he's in the shower and whacks him with it, a la the shower scene from "Pyscho." "Here, here's your paper! Happy? Happy now?" If you haven't seen the movie, do yourself a favor and go get it right this minute. (Cloris Leachman as Nurse Diesel is priceless.)

4. Windows XP CEE.
EC regulators almost went for this one, figuring it was somehow related to the Windows CE handheld OS. Then they found the secret Microsoft memo that spelled out the real meaning: Crappy European Edition.

3. Windows XP Euro-Trash Edition (with Pop-Ups!).
This edition comes with a free copy of the Cracker song, "Euro-Trash Girl," which of course plays only on the Microsoft Media Player.

2. Windows XP Less Is Less Edition.
In the era of low-carb, low-fat, low-everything diet plans, Microsoft figured a "low-app" approach might fly. But the whole weight thing is largely a U.S. problem, and the EC wasn't biting.

1. Windows XP YDWNSMPYAGNSMP Edition.
Give up? C'mon, it's obvious. This is the You Don't Want No Stinkin' Media Player, You Ain't Got No Stinkin' Media Player Edition.

More Information

Follow the links below to read more about the naming debacle, and the rest of the saga on Microsoft's problems:

About the Author

Paul Desmond, the founding editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine, is president of the IT publishing firm PDEdit in Southborough, Mass. Reach him at paul@pdedit.com.

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