Chris Ziegler at This is My Next has a post up about potential “Windows Phone 7.5” branding for Microsoft’s big mobile software update this fall. This is based on a section of the Microsoft Partner Network website, which at one point said “Preview the new Windows Phone OS 7.5.”
Ziegler thinks “7.5” could be Microsoft’s way of marketing updated software to consumers, but I disagree for one reason: Microsoft stopped using numbers in its branding a long time ago. “Windows Phone 7” is a term we techies use, and it’s presumably what Microsoft uses internally, but ever since the first smartphones launched in October 2010, it’s been “Windows Phone,” pure and simple. The proof is in the very first TV ad campaign, and in Microsoft’s own website.
I’m glad Microsoft has ditched the numeral from its branding, even if the tech press generally hasn’t noticed. Product names have never been Microsoft’s strong suit, and the company’s mobile OS has been particularly troubled by names over the years. After introducing the latest OS as Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft dropped the last word and left us with Windows Phone 7, which runs Windows Phone 7 handsets, Windows Phone 7 devices or if you love redundancy, Windows Phone 7 phones.
Yeah, ditching the number and enabling the phrase “Windows Phones” was a good call. On the downside, it presents a marketing challenge whenever Microsoft overhauls its software, but “7.5” isn’t going to help because for the average consumer, it’ll come out of nowhere.
In any case, I agree with Ziegler’s conclusion, that a marketing push focused on brand new hardware would be much more effective. That’s why Microsoft needs those Nokia Windows Phones, pronto.