The 10 worst Microsoft product names of all time

If Microsoft had invented the iPod, it would have been called the Microsoft I-pod Pro 2005 Human Ear Professional Edition

Runners Up: Six More Unfortunate Microsoft Names

Chkdsk. Even in the DOS era, it was unclear why the name of this venerable disk-checking utility skipped all its vowels; even with the eight-character filename limit it could have at least been Checkdsk or Chekdisk. Today, there's no excuse for not calling it CheckDisk.

All Microsoft products called Messenger. Not that it's inherently bad name. But there's Windows XP's Windows Messenger; there's the unrelated command-line utility called Windows Messenger Service, famous mostly for being a security leak; and there's the old MSN Messenger, which was renamed Windows Live Messenger in 2005. That's at least two Messengers too many. To its credit, though, Microsoft didn't change "Messenger" to "Message Explorer."

Microsoft Office Word. And Microsoft Office Excel, Microsoft Office PowerPoint, and Microsoft Office Access. With Office 2007, Microsoft stuck in a superfluous "Office" in the middle of some of the best-known names in the history of software. Nobody noticed. Basic rule of thumb: If your customers don't realize that you've changed your product's name, you've failed.

OneNote. Merriam-Webster reports that "one-note" means "monotonous." Microsoft's handy note-taking application deserves better.

The Road Ahead. Published in 1995, Bill Gates's best-selling book famously didn't predict the rise of the Internet, thereby utterly failing to live up to the visionary promise of its title.

Windows 95: Yes, seriously: By the time it finally shipped, 1995 was two-thirds of the way over, leaving the blockbuster new version of Windows sounding slightly stale from the get-go. And it ushered in the era of consistently inconsistent Windows names, from additional year-based ones (Windows 98, 2000), to inappropriately highfalutin' modifiers (Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Vista) to mysterious acronyms (Windows XP).

Are there other tech-product names you find annoying and/or inaccurate--from Microsoft or from other companies? Or maybe even names you think are really good? Sound off in the comments.

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Harry McCracken

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