Many people sound shocked by the missing 9, but they shouldn’t be considering version naming in past versions of windows has been less than sequential: 1.01, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10! Microsoft has been coy about why they skipped a number when naming the next version of Windows so here are my guesses.
1: “Windows F%$#&!” – In Cantonese the word nine sounds like a vulgar word.
2: “Painful Windows” – In Japanese the word nine sounds like the word for pain or distress.
3: “Windows No” – In German “nein” pronounced like the number means no. Also to mention the ubiquitous and often remixed video of Hitler pounding his fists on the table repeatedly yelling “Nein”. Imagine the Windows memes…
4: Same version number as Mac OSX – This sounds ridiculous to the tech savvy, but when the tech clueless walks into a Best Buy, Mac is no longer one version ahead of Windows.
5: Signifying a leap forward. Microsoft feels like it is a leap forward and thinks you will too. From The Verge live blog – Q: Can you talk about the name? Seems weird going from Windows 8 to Windows 10. A: This product, when you see the product in your fullness I think you’ll agree with us that it’s a more appropriate name.
6: Align build numbers. Take a look at the history of windows build numbers and how they have always only occasionally represented the version of windows. Perhaps that changes with Windows 10. Windows 7 started at build number 7600 and Windows 8 jumped ahead to 9200 and Windows Phone 8 is already in the 10’s at 10211. Since Windows 10 on all devices will be the same build then they should all meet soon at 10xxx.
7: Makes lagging users feel further behind. It’s no secret that Microsoft wants users off old versions since supporting legacy OS’es gets expensive and makes it more difficult for them to sell users new services. It will be much more compelling to upgrade when an average Windows 7 user realizes they are 3 numbers behind.
8: Distance themselves from Windows 8. Version 8 was seen as a failure to many consumers and while I believe they addressed many issues in 8.1 its still Windows 8.
9: “Because seven ate nine” – Microsoft VP of Operating Systems, Terry Myerson