Let's help Microsoft name Windows 8

Windows 8 may or may not be the final name of Microsoft's next version of Windows client, due out in 2012. If it is just a codename, what should the actual final name be?
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It's easy to forget that"Windows 8" is just a code name. When Microsoft Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky finally uttered the words "Windows 8" in an official capacity earlier this year, he made a point of noting it was nothing but a codename.

Many of us have assumed that Microsoft will call Windows 8 client "Windows 8" when it is released, given that it's the follow-up to Windows 7. But maybe that's not the case....

I've gotten a couple of tips in recent months from various sources cautioning me that Windows 8 may not be the final name of the next version of Windows client. My tipsters didn't spill a list of potential candidates under consideration. But they did note that Windows 8 is nothing but a codename. One of the supposed reasons: Microsoft wants to make it clear that Windows 8 is a break from the past, and, as its execs repeatedly claim, the biggest Windows release since Windows 95. Therefore, a new and different name is in order.

In a September 7 blog post about Hyper-V's inclusion in Windows 8, company officials actually used quotation marks around the name "Windows 8" as Windows watcher Paul Thurrott noted. As my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott added, Microsoft didn't use this convention when referring to Windows 7. Aha! The codename-plot theory thickens....

(As a side note, I'd say it's quite likely that Windows Server 8's final name will be Windows Server 2012 -- or 2013 if it is released to manufacturing very late in the year. In the server world, cute and cuddly names are less valued by the enterprise audience.)

Back to Windows client. Microsoft's BFF Nokia recently put out a call to customers to help the company name its coming Mango Windows Phones.  Maybe we, being the core audience of Microsoft customers, partners and pundits that we are, should help Microsoft with some suggestions for a name for Windows 8.

I doubt Microsoft plans to unveil the final Windows 8 name next week at Build. So there's still time to make suggestions.

Chime in, readers. What should Microsoft call "Windows 8" if it doesn't go with the obvious ("Windows 8")?

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