Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

What’s In A Name?

Oh Crikey. In December ’02 Scott Hanselman realized that MSN Messenger 5.0 wasn’t an upgrade to Windows Messenger 4.7. No, it was a different product that did mostly the same thing. Was Microsoft changing the name and bringing out a new, improved product? No, they now had two instant messaging clients.

Now he finds that there’s an “upgrade” to Windows Update called… Microsoft Update. Two ways to keep your operating system updated via the net. One has more features. Will the other stay around as well, like Windows Messenger did? Time will tell. But for now, Microsoft’s customers are left in the twilight zone of product names.

What is it with companies and product names? Either they find a good name, then proceed to beat it to death – I watched Digital do it with the PATHWORKS name and then the AltaVista name, then Compaq with the iPaq name (did you know there were products with “iPaq” on them that were not handhelds?) – or, like Microsoft here, they have multiple products that do the same thing and get tacked with names so similar that nobody can keep them straight.

C’mon folks. Pretend you’re a customer and think about what makes sense.

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