No surprise: 'Windows 7' will be Windows 7

Is it an indication that poetic titles and artificial excitement can do less to endear an OS in the minds of its users than simple, straightforward functionality? Today, Microsoft said it's going back to doing things by number.

In a quick announcement this afternoon on the company blog for Windows Vista -- what's already being perceived as the "old version of Windows" by Microsoft -- the company's corporate VP for Windows product management revealed what many developers had already long suspected: The next version will be called what we've been calling it for months already, "Windows 7."

"The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity. 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."

Whether intentionally or not, Nash was making reference to early descriptions of "Vista" as a poetic, lofty, "aspirational" depiction of both Microsoft's product and its goals. Almost immediately after that adjective was first used, more than one commenter responded with something similar to, "Does this mean we'll all need more aspirin?"

Nash's statement this afternoon will raise eyebrows, though, for saying that it doesn't really make sense to give a date to a product that isn't shipped every year. That sentiment is clearly not shared among other Microsoft product divisions.

Microsoft will be devoting a full four days to the topic of Windows 7 during the upcoming PDC conference in Los Angeles, which begins on October 27. BetaNews' Nate Mook and Scott Fulton will both be there to disseminate the news.

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