I figured that I would take a look at the bigger picture. Microsoft sucks at naming products. They suck consistently in two ways, either they throw everything including the kitchen sink into the name or they like a name so much that they can’t stop using it.
MVSTDGP10 is just one example of monster MS names. The company’s overuse of Explorer and .net show the other failing. . I can even live with the inconsistent numbering (version 1, 2, XP, 2008, etc.). But the other two drive me nuts. Why is it like this?
For at least hundreds of years we’ve figured out that if we give books a title, subtitle and author we can pretty much keep them straight. When we added an ISBN number, we got a completely unique identifier (even if it is a bit OCD sometimes). Bill Gates’ book cover didn’t shout “Bill Gates Business @ the Speed of Though: Succeeding in the Digital Economy”. No it was Business at the Speed of Thought. In small type maybe “Succeeding in the Digital Economy” and the author’s name didn’t have to be part of the title. Yet Microsoft seems compelled to Microsoft in the front of too many products.
Why can’t software be this way. Give it a title. If you need to clarify versions or requirements, put it in a subtitle. The author is the company. If people want to make sure that they have right thing, give each piece of software a number like an ISBN. This is a number separate from the SKU. If Microsoft would number their own software, that would be a huge start. Then if other manufacturers don’t follow suit, Microsoft could simply refer to another manufacturers software by the number they made up. This would be really useful for clarifying interactions between MS and other software. NATO did this with names to identify Soviet aircraft and ships and we still use those names today. It also gives MS a chance to steal some of the sexiness from competitors. After all, “Leopard” sounds cool. 14385872AZD does not. MS has a chance to set the defacto standard and kill some of the coolness from the completition.
We know from experience that software names rarely make or break a product. The term “Excel” has nothing to do with numbers. “Access” was designed first as a communication program, hence the name. Fire and Foxes have nothing to do with the internet. That being the case, why not work create names that can function in the real world?
I want a robotic lawn mowing sheep. http://www.gearlog.com/2008/09/nextfest_2008_mower_the_roboti.php