Microsoft has announced that the latest version of Windows, due in the next couple of years, will be called – drumroll please – Windows 7. It’s about time Microsoft adopted a naming system that might actually make some sense to users, but I can’t wait for hordes of customers to start asking if they somehow missed Windows 1 through 6.
Windows has had one of the most ridiculous naming schemes in the history of software. First there were logical (but ugly) version numbers, like the once commonplace “Windows 3.1″. Then with the release of the overhauled Windows 95 the company adopted a naming system based on the year of release, which it continued until Windows 98.
Windows Me (perhaps the worst operating system I’ve ever used), sacrificed the scheme for a chance to be clever (it stood for “me” and the millennium at the same time!) Next up we hit Windows XP, which has served most of us reasonably well since 2001. It sounds sort of cool, it’s catchy, and we have no idea what it means. Fine.
Finally we had Windows Vista, which seemed to stick with the naming convention of “something that sounds sort of cool but didn’t really mean anything”. It had been more than five years since the release of XP, so there was little chance of confusion.
Microsoft is now in a hurry to push out its next operating system after the generally dismal response to Vista. And so we’ve come to Windows 7, which is apparently tied to the build numbers and not the actual releases. The new naming scheme lends itself well to faster, more incremental releases similar to what we’ve seen from Apple (about once every 18 months), but it’s probably going to confuse everyone and couldn’t be more bland.
You can read more at the company’s blog post here.