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It could have been so different. Longhorn came close to having an acceptable, if boring, name. Windows 07 and Windows Seven were in the frame.

But after four-long years, Microsoft decided to call the next version of its delayed Windows client “Vista” because of the "emotional" feelings it evoked.

According to an internal Microsoft memo, here at WindowsITPro, Windows 07 and Windows Seven sold Longhorn short on promised features.

Memo author John Williams, general manager of Windows communications, told Microsoft employees: "The number seven didn't seem to have the same emotional feel that Windows Vista did, so the company dropped that choice."

The choice "Vista" was predicated on - and we paraphrase: what the product is, what it delivers and the value proposition that comes with it in relation to the competition. Apparently, the final choice on name was given to group vice president Jim Allchin.

For all Microsoft's marketing efforts, and Microsoft went through a thousand names, several series of research, reviews and worked across different teams to arrive at Vista, Microsoft's problem remains simple - to do a lot more to push Vista.

The operating system has changed significantly since it was unveiled and Microsoft's prime mission is now to convince customers that the upgrade is worth the effort. Microsoft has made it clear Vista wilt focus on traditional - translation "not very exciting to the end-user" - operating system features, such as scalability.

In an attempt to spice-up Vista's appeal, you should now expect Microsoft to push desktop and internet search technology and improved data storage. Search is the feature du jour, thanks to Google's success. The importance Microsoft is placing on search was proven by last week's legal action against Google for poaching ex-vice president Dr Kai-Fu Lee.

You should also expect Microsoft to promote advances in the next version of Internet Explorer (IE), version 7.0 and not - yet at least - IE Vista. IE 7.0 is expected as a separate product, but that won't stop Microsoft from tapping concerns about online security with features expected to tackle phishing and malware.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has said little about the Vista server companion's features or the server's name, which has been known as Longhorn server. Vista Server doesn't have a real enterprise ring to it, does it? ®

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