10 Real Reasons Microsoft Skipped Windows 9 - InformationWeek

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10/9/2014
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David Wagner
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10 Real Reasons Microsoft Skipped Windows 9

Many people are speculating why Microsoft skipped from Windows 8 to 10. Consider these colorful possibilities.

Windows 10: 11 Big Changes
Windows 10: 11 Big Changes
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

As you undoubtedly heard by now, Microsoft can't count. Its next Windows iteration will not be Windows 9 or Windows 8.2. Instead it's skipping straight to 10. A lot of people are making fun of this. People like order, and skipping numbers bothers the kindergartner in all of us.

Microsoft hasn't been very forthcoming with the exact reason for the switch, though there are rumors it has to do with a Y2K-style problem with older versions of Windows 95 and 98 being referred to as Windows 9 in some scripts.

Personally, I don't buy that. It seems relatively easy to get around. But I did some research and I came up with some other possible reasons:

Top 10 (possibly true) reasons Microsoft is skipping Windows 9 and is going straight to 10.

1. They're hoping it will subliminally encourage critics to write that it is a "10 out of 10!"

2. The Japanese consider 9 to be an unlucky number because it sounds similar to the Japanese word for pain. What's Mr. T's prediction for Windows 9?

3. Microsoft is hoping to make up for tightening profits by selling super rare copies of Windows 9 on the collector's market.

4. Because 7 ate 9.

5. They were going to use Roman numerals and thought "Windows X" would draw a younger crowd. They also considered iNDOWS.

6. Ten matches the prediction of the number of people who will actually use it instead of XP.

7. Vista was taken.

8. When they named this one, they used Common Core math.

9. "Oh, let's just skip number 9." They did.

10. Because this version of Windows doesn't go to 11.

Let's face it, Microsoft has a long history of this. It went from counting to naming them after years like 95 and 98. Then it jumped to names like Vista only to settle back into numbers with Windows 7. You don't have any old copies of Windows 6 lying around, so why should you be bothered by the lack of Windows 9?

The truth is, this shows just how little a name matters to an operating system these days. Windows is Windows, and really Microsoft shouldn't care too much whether you're using 7, 8, or 10. They only care because of the expense of backwards compatibility and because of the security features in newer versions.

[For another take on why versions don't matter, see Windows 10, OS X, Lies, Damn Lies & Version Numbers.]

But consider how mobile phones have changed how software is marketed. The average consumers don't know what version of Android is running on their phones, nor do they shell out big bucks to go from one version to the next. The device updates the version for free. The same is true for other software on the phone. When you update Facebook or Twitter on your phone, does it even bother to tell you what version you are running? Mobile apps seemingly update daily. There's no fanfare.

Other than enterprises that have to prepare for certain major changes to operating systems, the idea of versions of software is dead. You just run Windows. The only reason to come out with a new "version" of software is to charge for it, and we've seen Microsoft lowering prices on operating systems recently, so that impulse is dying as a business reason.

With no reason for consumers to care and decreasing reason for Microsoft to care what version someone is running, numbers and names become increasingly meaningless. The real issue is getting you to buy the device with a Windows logo on it.

Of course, this begs the question of why 10 and not something snazzier like Windows Applekiller, or Windows Coolest Version Ever, or even just plain Windows. Probably the answer is that 10 is a round number and Microsoft couldn't come up with anything that tested better.

Personally, I'd like Microsoft to drop the Windows brand entirely and call its operating system "Cortana," but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

What do you think? Why 10? Does it bother you that it isn't 9? Does it change your perception of 10? Do you plan on using it? Tell us in the comments.

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
11/24/2014 | 4:47:44 PM
Re: Shouting versus whispering
Hi tjgkg! long time no speak!

I agree about the iPhone... however, I was strong-armed by my son into trading his LG for an iPhone 5s because, apparently, his middle school friends only use iPhones now, they won't even look at Androids. 
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
11/24/2014 | 10:42:02 AM
Re: Shouting versus whispering
Hi Soozy! I am going to check the links out. The iPhone is a very nice device but it really is overrated and over priced.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2014 | 11:48:41 AM
Another reason
I think I may have another reason they skipped 9 and went to ten. They are distacing themselves from windows 8, that awkward system that kept trying hang out on all the cool mobile devices.

That and when you hear windows 10 and you're on 8 you think you must have missed an update and are truly expecting something better than what you have, not just a fix for what isn't working in the current version. Now as far as that goes, does Windows 10 make it better?
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
10/18/2014 | 6:14:00 PM
Re: means nothing
@David, I agree it could mean something. There is something to be said for the "cool" factor.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
10/14/2014 | 1:40:12 PM
Re: Shouting versus whispering
This conversation reminds me of the iPhone spoofs on YouTube by "Let's Be Honest" about the various versions of iPhone. The IW isn't letting me post the URLs here but you can google them. Amusing.
Tadahel
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Tadahel,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/14/2014 | 9:41:09 AM
What's in a name?
I have a Windows Vista desktop PC - it works fine, despite my grumblings at the time I replaced my previous Desktop with it. I also have a lap-top with Windows 7 on it - and that too works fine, despite my grumblings at the time I replaced my previous lap-top with it. As far as I can discern, the OS's name has absolutely no bearing on its efficacy or likeability

 

What's in a name? You could call the OS 'Rasputin the mad monk' and some people would love it and some would hate it. All that really matters is whether it works or not - does it have the functionality you want ; does it work without glitches ; will it run your software without holding you to ransom ; is it innocuous and not demand a Doctorate in Astrophysics just to manage its basic config settings etc? These are the things that matter - not its name.

So, call it what you like - just make sure the damned thing works.

 

Boris.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
10/14/2014 | 7:29:59 AM
Re: means nothing
The naming convention is confusing for the average user but I'd bet that Windows for Power Users would sell better than Home Premium.  Honestly it would be nice if they'd just stop with all the different versions and follow Apple's lead, one for the desk and one for the datacenter.  Microsoft is having a hard time letting go of their licensing schema but the push to have Win 10 deliver across every platform makes me hopeful that they will streamline in the near future.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
10/13/2014 | 7:36:14 PM
Re: means nothing
@PaulS681- Generally I agree with you. But i wonder if you can get so out there that the ridicule and negative press you get so dooms you that the version name all of a sudden matters. 

For instance, if Microsoft had switched back to Windows 2015 or something it probably would have at worst been made fun of for constantly switching names. Or if they had gone with a name like Windows Mobile or something, it would have been reviewed on the face of it as a business move.

I would worry that Windows 10 gets so many of these sorts of top 10 lists that it might take away from the product. Personally, I'm a fan of Windows 8, so i wrote this with love. But not everyone does. 

I don't know. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. But so much about the success of products these days has to do with cool factor. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
10/13/2014 | 7:31:37 PM
Re: means nothing
@SaneIT- Thanks for the compliment. It helps to have kids of the right age. :)

You raise a fun point about home, premium, etc. I would love to see Extreme or perhaps "Windows for Power Users" or something that made me feel awesome for having it. 
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
10/13/2014 | 8:09:24 AM
Re: means nothing
yeah, there were some really funny ones

 

thanks @dave
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