Windows Vista hasn’t really been blessed with either a good code-name or a good final name. Dubbed "Longhorn" during its development, the operating system finally donned the Vista label in mid-2005. Paul Thurrott quoted Microsoft’s Jim Allchin as saying on the subject, "’Vista’ creates the right imagery for the new product capabilities and inspires the imagination with all the possibilities of what can be done with Windows – making people’s passions come alive." Not everybody felt quite as enthused.
Microsoft has been seeking to turn the page since it started work on the next release of Windows, trading Vista’s opulence for quick boot times and fewer built-in apps. The same goes for the name: Microsoft has been referring to the next release as "Windows 7" internally, and now, a post on the official Windows 7 blog says Microsoft will use that as the final name. Microsoft’s Mike Nash comments:
The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity. Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows. We’ve used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or "aspirational" monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista. And since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense. Likewise, coming up with an all-new "aspirational" name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows.
Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore "Windows 7" just makes sense.
As an interesting side note, a Microsoft PR representative reportedly told Paul Thurrott in 2005 that Microsoft almost used the Windows 7 name for Vista. "He noted that Microsoft had considered other names, like Windows Seven, Windows 7.0, and Windows 7, but thought Vista communicated the company’s vision of the possibilities of this next Windows version nicely."