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10/27/2008
03:00 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Why Windows 7 Doesn't Compute

I know this is nit-picky, especially when there are so many other important things to focus on -- like faster boot times and files searches that take less than a leap year. But here's what I want to know: Isn't "Windows 7" a gross misnomer as the name of Vista's successor? If we're not gonna use a year as the numerical designation in the new operating system's name, then aren't we at least up to nine or 10? (Or maybe 12?)

I know this is nit-picky, especially when there are so many other important things to focus on -- like faster boot times and files searches that take less than a leap year. But here's what I want to know: Isn't "Windows 7" a gross misnomer as the name of Vista's successor? If we're not gonna use a year as the numerical designation in the new operating system's name, then aren't we at least up to nine or 10? (Or maybe 12?)Now I admit that my count differs from Microsoft's. In his post on Microsoft's Vista blog, Mike Nash, corporate vice president for Windows product management, said that the next version of Windows will be called Windows 7 because it's the seventh release of Windows.

I don't think so.

Even if you leave out minor releases and server editions, you get the following: Windows 1, Windows 2, Windows 3.0, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista. Putting the next version of the Windows at the end of that list would make it Windows 11.

OK, you can argue that nothing before Windows 3.1 -- the 1992 release which put the graphical OS on the map -- should count. But even in that case, Vista Next becomes Windows 8. And I haven't even included legit interim or server releases like Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT (a biggie indeed) or Windows 98 SE.

I know you're probably thinking that Windows 7 is really another in a long line of NT releases, so by that measure it is indeed a "7" if that seven is meant to refer to its NT build or kernel release.

Mostly, it's looking more and more like Redmond is sticking with the "7" simply because it sounds good. I can't argue with that. Of all the single-digit numbers, seven is the most euphonious. ("1" would be a close second.)

If you don't believe me, think of some other famous numerological instances. For example:

  • Seven deadly sins;
  • Seven wonders of the ancient world;
  • Seven signs of the apocalypse;
  • Mickey Mantle's number; and of course
  • The Seven, the episode of Seinfeld in which George Costanza proposed naming his and Susan's first child, Seven.

    Most importantly, seven is reputed to be lucky. Which is what Microsoft surely needs if it's to avoid a repeat of the rather slow corporate adoption cycle which has befallen Vista.

    What's on your Take 5 ticket? Let me know, by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me directly at alex@alexwolfe.net.

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