Names changed to protect the innocent

Robert lets the cat out of the bag that the name of the next version of the Visual Basic product is going to just be “Visual Basic 2005 xxx Edition” and that the official name of the language is going to be “Visual Basic.” No “.NET” in sight. Thus, my adage that

…the one thing you can count on at Microsoft is that there will be absolutely no consistency or constancy to names over time.

is proven once again.

Not being involved in the name change process in the slightest, I don’t know what the marketing logic behind the name change was, but I suspect that as we move further in time away from the COM/.NET schism there is not as much of a need to emphasize the unique .NET nature of VS, VB, C#, etc. It does mean that I’m probably going to have to change the title of the second edition of my book (assuming it does well enough to merit a second edition)…

Oh, and as far as I know, we’re keeping sequential numbers to refer to the language itself. So the language in the Visual Basic .NET 2002 product was Visual Basic .NET 7.0. The language in the Visual Basic .NET 2003 product was Visual Basic .NET 7.1. The language in the Visual Basic 2005 product is going to be Visual Basic 8.0. Confused yet?

5 thoughts on “Names changed to protect the innocent

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  2. Steve Hiner

    I have 2 theories:

    From what I’ve seen in the computer industry in general it seems like the naming game changed because of AMD.

    AMD released their 386 processor then a 486 processor. Intel didn’t like it. The courts ruled that number sequences couldn’t be trade marked. Then Intel switched to the Pentium, Celeron, Itanium, etc.

    It was around that time that MS started toggling back and forth between year numbers and text names. Win98 -> WinME, WinNT -> 2000 -> XP -> 2003

    It could have been a way to stop their competitors from giving similar names all the time. For instance MS releases Office 2000 so Corel releases WordPerfect Office 2000 – if MS releases Office XP, Corel probably can’t get away with releasing WordPerfect Office XP.

    However, a more likely explanation:
    MS wants to hide the frequency of their upgrades. How many users would want to spend the money to buy Office 2000, 2002, 2003. Regardless of the time between Office 2002 and 2003 people would feel like they just spent the upgrade money and are being asked to spend it again a year later. With every other version using a name rather than a year it makes it less obvious.

    I think the theory is supported by the fact that the cheaper products have no issue with consisten year names. Money 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, etc. Same thing with Streets and Trips. When a consumer is only spending $30 to $50 they don’t mind buying a new version every year.

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  5. Karl E. Peterson

    > I suspect that as we move further in time away from

    > the COM/.NET schism there is not as much of a need

    > to emphasize the unique .NET nature of VS, VB, C#, etc.

    LOL! Only the kids on the VB team have moved on/away. The rest of the world remembers.

    So, the bait-n-switch will be complete, huh?

    [.NET: It’s About Trust!]


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