Microsoft’s “Creative Product Naming Dept” Does Exist

by Bharat Suneja

The “Creative Product Naming Dept” that I’ve talked about several times here [read a previous post “It’s Official – Exchange “12” is now Exchange Server 2007“] does in fact exist at Microsoft! CNET cites recent product names such as Silverlight, Popfly, and Surface as evidence that Microsoft “has put in place a concerted effort to improve its product naming“. David Webster, a Director at “product naming expert” Siegel+Gale, was hired as GM of Brand Strategy two years ago.

More in “Microsoft looks to improve its name game“.

A cool name isn’t all that takes for a product to succeed, as highlighted in this list of 10 products with cool names that turned out to be disasters, or didn’t “succeed as expected in the marketplace”. Ironically, at the top of the list is Microsoft’s Zune portable media/music player – read “10 tech disappointments…with cool names(The Zune doesn’t really deserve that spot… it’s a decent first attempt by Microsoft).

Interestingly, previous Exchange Server versions sported cooler code names such as Titanium (Exchange Server 2003), Platinum (Exchange 2000) and so on, till Exchange Server 2007 – codenamed “E12” (no, E12 wasn’t that bad, but not quite as interesting or exciting as Titanium, Platinum, Longhorn, Wolfpack, etc.). Perhaps a little late in the game to change the code name for the next version of Exchange, given how far in advance these things are planned.

As far as actual product names go, Exchange isn’t likely to see any changes either. E14 will probably be called “Exchange Server [year it’ll be released in]“, and given Exchange is arguably one of the better Microsoft brands out there, there’s little reason to change it.

Nevertheless, if you have any ideas for cool names, please do post it in the comments or send me an email.

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