Now Microsoft is getting personal.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has settled on a name for its next
consumer operating system:
Windows Me, short for Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, according to a
internally by the code name Millennium, the nickname is now
official. Like Windows 98, Second Edition and Windows 98 before it, Windows
Me will be available as a retail upgrade and will be loaded on new
Windows-based computers. It's due out sometime this year.
Although still in development, Windows Me has already been marked by
confusion and turmoil along with Microsoft's consumer software strategy.
After chairman Bill Gates
publicly announced that Windows 98 would be the last consumer operating
system based on the DOS operating system, the company reversed itself by
releasing Windows 98, Second Edition, last year and announcing plans for
Meanwhile, the company is preparing for what is widely thought to be the
company's most stable and ambitious software
release to date--the much-delayed Windows 2000. Windows 2000 is
Microsoft's new high-end operating
system for large businesses and e-commerce Web sites. Due out on Feb. 17 at
a launch event in San Francisco, the OS is the company's most expensive
software development project as well.
Initially, speculation persisted that Windows Me was planned as a hybrid of
the Windows 95 and Windows NT code, perhaps boosted by the decision to drop
the "98" moniker from the brand name.
Microsoft has always denied that Millennium contained any Windows NT code,
with the possible exception of some functional shortcuts. But Millennium's
convoluted development path, coupled with the repeated delays in bringing
Windows 2000 to market, have raised questions about the company's strategy
in the consumer operating system business.
"As the successor to Windows 98, Second Edition, the name demonstrates
Microsoft's commitment to maintaining a consistent brand within the consumer
operating system products," a company representative said. "Microsoft believes
it will help alleviate some consumer confusion as to which Microsoft
operating system will best meet most of their needs."