Microsoft is bad at naming things. Their recent renaming of the “Windows Store” to the “Microsoft Store” is just the latest in a long line of confusing and silly product names.
Just look at the names of consumer versions of Windows: Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10. Microsoft can’t stick with a naming scheme for long.
The Windows Store Is Now the Microsoft Store
As you may have recently noticed, the Windows Store app on your PC—the one that offers app downloads—is now named the Microsoft Store. Of course, the “Microsoft Store” is also the name of a chain of physical stores Microsoft operates where they sell laptops. Just imagine if Apple suddenly renamed the “App Store” on iPhones and Macs to the “Apple Store”. Apple would be mocked everywhere, even on late night TV. The only reason people aren’t laughing at this new name is because no one cares about the Windows Store.
Whenever someone refers to “the Microsoft Store”, it’s now unclear whether they’re referring to the app store on Windows or the physical stores Microsoft operates. Sure, Microsoft wants to blur these lines because it will begin selling hardware in the Store app on Windows and because that same Store can be used to purchase Xbox games, but naming it the same thing as their physical stores is just dumb and confusing.
Microsoft Won’t Stop Renaming Things!
The “Microsoft Store” suddenly replacing the “Windows Store” isn’t an isolated incident. Like other companies that should know when to quit, Microsoft keeps renaming products with perfectly good names.
For example, Microsoft renamed its Beam video game-streaming service to Mixer less than two months after it first appeared in Windows 10’s Creators Update. Both Beam and Mixer are fine names, but if you want a name to be recognizable to your customers, pick one and stick with it! Don’t rename a product a few weeks after putting it in front of users. (Google is guilty of this too.)
This pattern is repeated throughout Microsoft’s history. Microsoft Passport became .NET Passport and then transformed into Windows Live ID before Microsoft settled on the sensible name “Microsoft account”. Windows Mobile was replaced by Windows Phone 7 Series, but then Windows Phone turned back into Windows 10 Mobile. MSN Music led to Zune, which then morphed into Xbox Music before it was renamed Groove Music and then finally axed. Microsoft flails around wildly, renaming services over and over as if that alone will make them successful.
Windows 10’s Update Names Are Terrible
Windows 10’s update names are terrible and have no consistency to them. Here’s a list of the Windows 10 updates that Microsoft has launched since Windows 10 was released:
This is a baffling collection of names. We’ve received messages from confused readers who wonder why a certain feature isn’t available on their PC when we say the feature is in the Fall…
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