Microsoft Surprises With New Windows 7 Name

Windows Vista

Microsoft appears to be listening to these minimalist pleas, at least when it comes to assigning an official name to Windows 7, the successor to Vista that's slated for release sometime in late 2009.

In a Monday post to the Windows Vista team blog, Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Windows Product Management, announced that Windows 7 will be the official name of the OS, marking the first time that a Windows product code name will be carried over to the final version.

Nash acknowledged that Microsoft has employed a variety of naming approaches for Windows in the past, including version numbers (Windows 3.11) and dates (Windows 95/98/2000). But for Windows 7, Microsoft has decided that these so-called 'aspirational' names just won't do, and that a simpler naming approach would better reflect its goals.

"The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity," Nash wrote.

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Nash also threw readers a dose of logic by noting that the Windows 7 name also denotes the fact that it's the seventh version of Windows that Microsoft has developed.

Michael Cocanower, president of Phoenix-based solution provider ITSynergy, says Microsoft's 'aspirational' names have been difficult for most customers to understand and follow. "The average user has no hope of knowing if Vista is before or after XP, or even ME, for that matter," he said.

Cocanower says it makes sense for Microsoft to use version numbers for Windows and hopes the practice will continue. "This makes it easy for people to understand the sequence of things, and fits well into a geek's way of thinking," he said.

Andrew Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, sees Microsoft's move to simplify the Windows naming convention as a positive step that he hopes will soon be applied to Microsoft's entire product line.

"Hopefully, this will be expanded to include a streamlining of product SKUs, licensing options and pricing as well. There was -- and continues to be -- an enormous amount of confusion among customers regarding the differences between all of the variations of Microsoft Vista," Kretzer said.