Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

Summary: Microsoft uses codenames and acronyms to disguise their products while still in development. Crack these acronyms and you're well on your way to see what's in Microsoft's playbook.


As readers of this site know, I love tracking down Microsoft codenames and keep a running log of them (which is freely downloadable to anyone who registers with ZDNet).

But codenames aren't the only Microsoft "names" worth watching. There are some pretty crazy Microsoft acronyms out there. Some are product names; others are team names; and still others are Softie-coined concepts.

I've compiled a list of 10 Microsoft acronyms -- some basic and some that I had to research for a while until I found their meanings. How many of them do you know? Take this Microsoft acronym quiz and match wits with other Microsoft watchers out there. No Binging allowed -- see how you do without looking these up.

And now, the mind-boggling Microsoft code-cracking quiz!:

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Congratulations for making it through. Now go on to the answer page and see how well you did.


1. SCCM The correct answer is: B. System Center Configuration Manager. The SCMM 2012 version is going to be able to manage iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, and other non-Microsoft-centric devices when it is released later this year.

2. WBPOS The correct answer is: B. While many of those affected by BPOS outages in the past several months (not to mention Microsoft's competitors) may believe the answer to be "D," but the correct answer is "B." However, if you answered "A," you still get a passing grade on this one, as Microsoft originally ocasionally used BPOS to refer to "Business Productivity Online Services."

3. SMS&P The correct answer is: C. Students of the Microsoft org chart will likely get this one right off. SMS&P -- the small and midmarket solutions and partners group -- is a key one, especially for Microsoft resellers and their customers. The current head of SMS&P is Corporate Vice President Vahe Torosssian.

4. APEX The correct answer is: A. This was a new one for me. APEX is the Apple Productivity Experience team, which is 100 percent focused on building and supporting Microsoft products and technologies for iOS and Mac OS X. (Does this include secret agents working on Office for the iPad? Maybe... who knows?)

5. FIM The correct answer is: B. While many can and do use FIM as shorthand for "financial information management," in the Redmondian world, FIM is Forefront Identity Manager. Microsoft recently released a beta of its next version of FIM, known as FIM 2012 -- a digital-identity-management product to ship in the first half of 2012.

6. OWA The correct answer is: B. A tricky one, this is. OWA is Outlook Web Access. Softies avoid (when they remember) using OWA to represent Office Web Apps or Outlook Web App, even though either/both of those plausibly could be abbreviated as OWA. Instead, those two products are spelled out in full and not abbreviated in a (somewhat futile) attempt to avoid confusion.

7. PDW The correct answer is: C. While Portland is PDX,  SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse is PDW. Microsoft's first release of PDW was part of its SQL Server 2008 R2 wave and it sounds like there will be another PDW release as part of SQL Server "Denali" (either later this year or some time next). Microsoft is going to be adding Hadoop interop to PDW via a connector, company officials said recently.

8. IEB The correct answer is: A. IEB is Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business unit. IEB handles Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, Kinect, Zune Music and Video and Mediaroom IPTV. Headed by President Don Mattrick, IEB is responsible for the multi-screen entertainment experience being built out by Microsoft and its partners.

9. DRX The correct answer is: B. Devices and Roaming Experience. The DRX team lives in the Windows Live division is responsible for SkyDrive for not just for Windows and Windows Phone users, but also for iPhone, Mac and Android users.

10. ABC The correct answer is: B. Microsoft is starting to use ABC to refer to software that ships "on an Appliance, in the Box, or through a Cloud." Examples of these types of wares: SQL/SQL Azure, Windows AppFabric/Azure AppFabric and BizTalk. The Business Platform Division (the new home of Scott Guthrie) is where most of the ABC work seems to be centralized.

11. Windows ME The correct answer is: A. Those who were none too fond of the version of Windows client released by Microsoft in 2000 may believe the answer to be D. But it’s actually A. One of the relatively few times that Microsoft did not use a date in their Windows client naming. (I’m still wondering if Windows 8 will get a different name when it ships….)

Correct answers:

10 - You're a World War II Enigma code-cracking veteran 7-9 - A true follower of the cult of Microsoft 5-7 - Pretty good, but need more study time. 3-4 - Your Geek status is in jeopardy, study the Codetracker harder. 0-2 - Pretty bad. Are you a Mac fanboy/girl, by chance?

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

    Got 8.
    Ram U
    • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

      @Rama.NET <br><br>Which ones did you miss? Surprised and curious.<br><br>PS. Good one MJ, these weren't some soft balls.

      FYI: I knew a few, but overall I bombed it.
      • Thanks

        I tried to strike a balance between impossible and thought-provoking. Glad you thought it was fun. MJ
        Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

        I missed APEX and PDW.
        Ram U
  • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

    8 out of 11 for me. I missed APEX, IEB & DRX
  • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

    Didn't do as well as I thought I would. Some of those I never heard/seen before.
  • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

    I got all right. Some just make sense even if they are not popular; some educated guess work helps, I guess since some options do not make much sense.
  • Those are just a few...

    Microsoft is notorious at making up new acronyms all of the time. In fact I find myself researching what a lot of them mean commonly when reading various Microsoft technical documents. Sometimes they fail to mention the full name for their acronyms, as if the acronyms are the industry standard which they are not.
  • PDW correction...

    I think you might have PDW wrong. It's used in a sentence within Microsoft like this, "we're gonna PDW [insert technology here]". It means Microsoft is going to terminate the technological branch to the chagrin of the development community. To the uninitiated, PDW means "Professional Developer Wedgie".<br><br>We're all waiting for September BUILD to see who's getting a PDW! :)
    P Newton
  • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

    You're awesome MJF.
  • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

    "BPOS" tickeled my funny bone as to what i would like it to imply.

    does anyone know what is it exactly?
  • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

    Nice quiz - but I think you got one wrong. :)

    OWA was "Outlook Web Access" in Exchange 2007 (and previous versions), but in Exchange 2010 Microsoft actually renamed Outlook Web Access to "Outlook Web App". Outlook Web Access no longer exists.

    Outlook Web Access was the old name and Outlook Web App is the current name. It stands to reason that OWA now more correctly means Outlook Web App.
    Optic Nerve
    • Huh

      I was chided on OWA last year ... being told it did NOT mean Outlook Web App. I don't think OWA (meaning Outlook Web Access) has been eliminated. In fact, support for that was part of Exchange 2010 SP1...

      If you have more info, let me know. Thanks. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Re: Huh

        I'm not saying the functionality has been eliminated in Exchange 2010 obviously, just that they renamed "Outlook Web Access" to "Outlook Web App". OWA means Outlook Web App now.

        If you read the official Exchange team blog (http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange) and search for Outlook Web App you'll notice that every post that talks about Exchange 2010 always uses the term "Outlook Web App" and always shortens it to OWA. The only time you find the term "Outlook Web Access" is if the post is about Exchange 2007 or earlier versions.

        Here is an example which talks about the upcoming SP2 for Exchange 2010 - the poster refers to Outlook Web App and shortens it to OWA:


        Even the Exchange 2010 product page on microsoft.com which lists all of the features has a feature called "Outlook Web App".

        OWA is gone. It's been replaced with... OWA. ;)
        Optic Nerve
  • Crapware

    CGBALAMA - can't go back and look at my answers.
    Northeast & Atlantic RR
  • RE: Quiz: Don't you love Microsoft acronyms?

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