Microsoft's next OS keeps Windows 7 name

The next version of the Windows operating system (OS) will keep its codename and officially be named Windows 7.

The next-generation operating system has been codenamed Windows 7 since its inception, and now Microsoft has decided to let the name stick.

"I know there have been a few cases at Microsoft when the codename of a product was used for the final release, I am pretty sure that this is a first for Windows," said the corporate VP of Windows management, Mike Nash, on the company's Windows Vista blog.

"The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity," he added "Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows. We've used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or 'aspirational' monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista.

"And since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense. Likewise, coming up with an all-new 'aspirational' name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows."

That rationale may disappoint many who have been unimpressed with what Vista has to offer, suggesting once again that Windows 7 will be a relatively minor upgrade to Vista rather than a wholesale redesign of the operating system.

Microsoft is due to share pre-beta code of Windows 7 with developers at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) later this month.

Barry Collins

Barry Collins is an experienced IT journalist who specialises in Windows, Mac, broadband and more. He's a former editor of PC Pro magazine, and has contributed to many national newspapers, magazines and websites in a career that has spanned over 20 years. You may have seen Barry as a tech pundit on television and radio, including BBC Newsnight, the Chris Evans Show and ITN News at Ten.