Microsoft Cept

Larry Osterman blogged yesterday about the funky name assigned to some new expansion pack that we’re shipping, which jogged my memory about a funny naming story that’s probably old enough to be repeatable. In fact, it’s been so long that the story may be incorrect or apocryphal, so take it all with a grain of salt…

Before I worked on Visual Basic, I spent most of my time working on Microsoft Access. In fact, I interned on Access about a year before it actually shipped its first version. The name of the project at the time was “Cirrus” and it had no official product name at that point. By the time I finished up my final year of college and made it back to the Access team, the product name had been chosen and we were just a few short months from shipping. One day I was chatting with one of the marketers on the team and he told me a story about how they’d come to the name “Access.” Apparently, they’d hired an outside research firm that specialized in product naming. They paid them some big chunk of change to go off and think about possible names for Access and then come back and give their recommendations. They came back with a set of ideas, but the one that always stuck out in his mind was “Microsoft Cept.” Yes, “Cept,” as in “con-cept” or “pre-cept” or “ex-cept.” They apparently had some wacky ideas about how Microsoft could run a whole marketing campaign around words that ended in “cept.” (Apparently ignoring the obvious homophone that immediately springs to mind, namely “septic.”)

Thankfully, the marketing department ignored the suggestion and took a look at the trademarks that Microsoft already owned. We’d apparently shipped a “Microsoft Access” product before – it was some kind of DOS dial up program that had died a quick death – and the name seemed to be perfect. And thus we have “Microsoft Access,” not “Microsoft Cept.”

Anyway, that’s how I remember the story. My apologies to those involved for any distortions that time has made to my memory…

One thought on “Microsoft Cept

  1. ian

    access 1 featured combo with multicolumn dropdown, continuous forms, and good report writer.

    now, if vb could only catch up, lol…


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