Microsoft product names leave software world in a swirl

Microsoft has replaced technical speak with brand names on many products, but that has opened up new challenges. Seen here is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella exiting the stage after speaking at a press briefing in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg/AP)

Windows updates are among the many places Microsoft has replaced technical speak (remember Windows Service Packs?) with brand names, but that opens the door to new dilemmas. Fall or autumn? Secure Productive Enterprise, or something a little more enticing?

Microsoft is having second thoughts about the best word for the season between summer and winter.

The Redmond company’s next update to Windows 10 is named the “Fall Creators Update,” meant to distinguish the upcoming features in the operating system from those that arrived in the plain old “Creators Update” earlier this year.

But the Microsoft watchers at Windows Central earlier this week noticedthat company websites in the U.K., India, Australia, and elsewhere, had started referring to the “Autumn Creators Update.”

The tweak made some sense. While “fall” is often used in the U.S., “autumn” is the favored term for most of the English-speaking world.

That gave hope to some of the Southern Hemisphere’s 800 million residents, who don’t experience “fall” until March, that more changes might be afoot to make the brand slapped on the world’s most popular computer software relevant to them.

As one Brazilian blogger put it: “And here, will there be a name that corresponds to our season that begins in September – spring?”

Alas, it is not to be.

This reporter asked Microsoft’s public relations team on Monday whether the Southern Hemisphere would get its own Windows 10 branding.

Two days later, the company replied: the “Autumn” references were errors that have been corrected. It was likely a mistake by someone updating the Microsoft U.K. site and the other English-language portals, the company says.

The Fall Creators Update will remain the Fall Creators Update around the world.

Windows updates are among the many places Microsoft has replaced technical speak (remember Windows Service Packs?) with brand names, although these might mean little to its main audience of business software buyers.

A set of security tools in Windows 10 were given the mouth-filling designation Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. A souped-up login screen became Windows Hello.

To get a bit more obtuse, a software bundle that included Windows, along with Office and some other business tools, was dubbed Secure Productive Enterprise.

But the marketing machine marches on.

Last month, just a year after Secure Productive Enterprise name was unveiled, that set of software was restyled Microsoft 365.