Why is it Windows 10 and not Windows 9?

Oct
2
2014

I posed the question to my friends at GPanswers.com and asked “Why do you think it was called Windows 10 and not Windows 9?”

I got a *LOT* of emails regarding “Why Microsoft skipped Windows 9 and jumped right to 10.”

Let’s start out with some of my German friends who basically said I was dead wrong about my theory that it would be “Windows Nein!” . :-)

- “As a native German speaker I want to say that Germans often – and explicitly IT-Germans – speak a kind of pidgin English. So they usually would say:
Windows (in English) Neun (in German). And the word Neun (9) is spoken “Noin” not “Nein”. “Nein” would be English
pronunciation. And – by the way – most Germans I think wouldn’t like this “number trickery.” Windows 9 would have been expected; saying Windows 10
looks a little bit like “cheat code”. My opinion.

- “Hi Jeremy, I think that from the point of view of someone actually speaking German your pet theory does not work for several reasons:
In most regions of German speaking countries the word “NEIN” is pronounced very differently from “NINE”. So differently in fact, that until reading your mail I never had the idea that someone might hear one and think of the other.  Even more important, virtually no one who speaks German does reference Windows versions by English numbers, not even the guys (and gals) in the IT business. So Windows 8 always was ‘Windows ACHT’ and Windows 9 would have been ‘Windows NEUN’, which bears even less resemblance to NEIN.

On the other hand you may still be right because the decision might have been fueled by some Microsoft employee with a murky understanding of German. And be assured, translations of Microsoft products prove that there is an abundance of these people ;-) My own theory, based on an unfounded snippet of information from Wikipedia: The Japanese consider nine to be unlucky because in Japanese the word for nine sounds similar to the word for “pain” or “distress”

Since my posing this question, I found this “Official” explanation myself… this was in the reporter’s press conference video that was released.
At 2 mins and 28 seconds in, start watching in http://youtu.be/NfveyXCsiA8?list=PLWs4_NfqMtoyDaqWDdhRzbSnMFLxriPiQ

Spoiler: they were going to call it “Windows One/1” like ‘XBOX One’ .. but they didn’t.

Other ideas that people sent me the following items in no particular order:

-A Microsoft developer explains in a Reddit thread why Windows 10 is called Windows 10. http://t.co/qJFi8yJEJg . Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/mikko/status/517358472715710465 . CNET actually did a whole article on this idea: Here’s the most logical reason I’ve seen for jumping over Windows 9:

http://www.cnet.com/news/is-this-why-microsoft-named-it-windows-10/

-They named it 10 because all of the rumors floating around for the past several weeks said that there would be a free upgrade to Windows 9 if already have Windows 8 :)

-To copy or be confused with OS X v10.10 (Yosemite) Apple refers X as 10 so it is OS 10 / .10 and Windows 10 /

-I am surprised they didn’t name it Windows “X”. This is what Apple and Adobe did with their products. :)

-Theory: MS is trying to dispel the pattern that every odd version is good and every even version is bad. i.e. ME was bad, XP good, Vista bad, Win7 good, Win 8 very bad……

-(Several iterations on this one): We had a discussion about this in my office this morning and the best theory we came up with is that Microsoft wants to bring the version number up to the same level as Mac OS X and in the future will use the same numbering strategy for new releases. The real question is whether or not Microsoft will name the operating systems after cats as well.

-(Several iterations on this one): Here’s the theory I heard the interwebs: Windows 7 ate(8) 9.

-I think they did this so people keep talking about it, it will be all over the news :D

-Everyone knows to avoid the third iteration of Microsoft’s OS. They are attempting to kill the “Curse of the Third” by skipping 9. Unfortunately for them, if it doesn’t work, I can already see the tag line “Windows 10 is not a 10″ flying through cyberspace. They should have never used 10. Too high a mark to live up to and too easy a target for negative advertising.

-My guess is that it is a nice “round” number, triumphant sounding. For example, the successor to NT4 was going to be NT5…but delays in delivery made it available in late 1999, so they decided to call it Windows 2000.

-My theory: Windows 9. 9 is divisible by 3 More over, the square root of 9 is 3. Gabe Newell, founder of Valve Software, used to work for Microsoft. Half-Life 3 is a much anticipated game from Valve.
Windows 9 = Half-Life 3 is confirmed. Microsoft didn’t want to leak this information, so they skipped Windows 9.

-Could be that they are thinking allot of business that are running Vista & Windows 7 that IT can have an easier “sell” to management to upgrade their OS’s by saying they are 3-4 versions old already and time to upgrade.

 

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