A (Microsoft) Code Name a Day: Milan

Today's Microsoft codename of the day is Milan, a k a, the Microsoft Surface tabletop -- the first units of which are due to go to customers this fall.

I'm resuming my Microsoft Code Name a Day series that I started in December 2006. The goal: To provide the back story, each day in August, on one of Microsoft's myriad code names. Some of these code names might be familiar to Microsoft watchers; others (hopefully) will be brand-new.

Microsoft code names offer some great clues about the Redmondians’ development priorities, not to mention a better understanding of which future Microsoft products fit together, from a strategy standpoint. And not every product group is moving to boring, numbered codenames (like Windows 7 and Office 14).

Without further ado, let the codename games begin.

Microsoft code name of the day: Milan

Microsoft code name of the day: Milan

Best guess on what it is: Microsoft's Surface multi-touch tabletop

Meaning/context of the code name: Microsoft has gone back to relying on city names (especially European city names) for a number of its products. Other seemingly unrelated codenames in this group: Warsaw, Greenwich, Kiev, Monaco, Edinburgh). Former Softie Robert Scoble also is going with "Milan" as a (non-code) name for his soon-to-be-born son, last I heard. Scoble says their naming choice had nothing to do with Microsoft's table.

Back story: Surface evolved from a Microsoft Research project, formerly known as "PlayTable," to an incubation in the Microsoft Entertainment and Devices unit. Microsoft officially launched the Surface in May 2007. The Surface tables include Windows Vista boxes embedded inside.

Additional info: Microsoft's first customers for the Surface -- Starwood hotels, Harrah's resorts and T-Mobile stores -- are due to take shipment of the systems this fall. Microsoft is likely to extend the "Milan" family with other form factors, ranging from desks, to portable entertainment systems, to phones, according to hints from various officials.

Got a Microsoft code name you’ve been wondering about? Send it my way and I’ll do my best to track down some leads on what it might be.

And if you want to keep track of the full month's worth of Microsoft code names I end up posting, bookmark this "Microsoft Codenames" page. You can also check out this video-whiteboard I did recently on Microsoft codenames.