The next Windows won't be called Blue

Microsoft knows something about cool codenames, but little on how to name actual products. Whistler, Longhorn, Cougar, Blackcomb, Vienna and even Blue all sound great, resounding and promising, but that impression goes away fast when Microsoft baptizes its creations: XP, Vista or 7. The guy with the cool names went on a bathroom break, and all the boring suits took over.

That's the very same impression I get after reading about Microsoft's "Looking Back and Springing Ahead" blog post, which touts a number of apparently impressive achievements and future plans that the company has. Lo and behold, there's even a strategy in place to raise the pace for "updates and innovations" -- that's the "new normal across Microsoft", according to the company. But then I notice the Windows Blue reference.

On Windows Blue, Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of corporate communications at Microsoft, says: "Chances of products being named thusly are slim to none. And don’t start with the 'so you’re telling me there’s a chance' bit". Blue may not be the most imposing name, but it's out there with the big boys, and now the software giant is practically telling us that the boring route will be used instead.

I can only speculate that Windows Blue will be named Windows 9 or something along those lines, after the product is released into public hands (even as a preview). Admittedly, Microsoft may want to avoid future genitalia puns (which I shall not name) but I expected the company to grow a pair and get bold.

Apple manages to deliver successful operating system releases that users adopt and keep cool, and memorable, nicknames as well. Just think about Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Anything is better than boring and when you want to hang around with the cool kids, hip is the way to go. Adapt and conquer.

But what else is there in that blog post? Microsoft reveals that Windows Azure has twice as many users with revenue growing three fold, while sales of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter licenses increased in excess of 80 percent. Great news comes from Office 365 "paid seats", which have tripled year over year during the previous quarter. The software giant also quotes an IDC report that places Windows Phone at 10 percent market share "in a number of countries", surpassing Blackberry and iPhone shipments in 26 and seven markets, respectively.

This is hardly surprising, but Microsoft also announced that a "unified planning approach" is implemented in order to deliver "devices, apps and services working together wherever [users] are and for whatever [users] are doing".

Judging by the title of the blog post and the innuendo at the end, Microsoft did not bury the hatchet after Google killed a couple more services under the now-traditional spring cleaning. "See, spring isn’t just for cleaning/whacking away at things. It’s also a time to plant and get ready for summer. So…get ready!" Shaw says.

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