Microsoft announced yesterday that the next version of Windows will go by its codename when it is released, a first for the operating system. The successor to Windows Vista will be called simply, Windows 7:
Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows. We’ve used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or “aspirational” monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista. And since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense. Likewise, coming up with an all-new “aspirational” name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows.
Even though I’m somewhat surprised by the decision, I think it’s a good one.
Most people call Windows XP just “XP” and Windows Vista just “Vista”. By the time Windows 7 comes out, it will have been ten years since we’ve had a version with a common moniker that includes the name “Windows” (of course, that would be Windows 2000). I suppose it’s possible that people may refer to it as just “Seven”, but I think “Windows 7″ will be used more commonly. That’ll be good for the overall brand.
I also like the idea of evolving and refining Windows Vista, though it’s less clear how consumers will make that connection based on the name alone (I doubt most people think of Windows Vista as version 6). I think Windows 7 strikes a nice balance between “Windows Vienna” (or whatever other aspirational name was thrown around) and “Windows Vista R2″.
I wonder if this is a new trend for Microsoft? They also just released Silverlight 2 (not Silverlight 2.0). Maybe the next release of Office will be called Office 14 (they are skipping 13 due to superstition).
A version number is simple and easy-to-understand. It’s immediately clear that 7 came after 6. And removing the minor version (7.0) makes it less geeky. It also divorces the software from a yearly release cycle, which means Microsoft can focus on quality before making a new release.
I hope this decision is a sign of things to come for Windows 7. Simple and effective.