Victor Wynne

Why is Windows called Windows?

Benj Edwards:

In 1982, Microsoft hired a new marketing VP named Rowland Hanson, who was a veteran of the cosmetics industry. Hanson brought a new angle for defining Microsoft’s brand that involved placing the “Microsoft” name in front of its products with a generic or simple word after it, such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.

While researching a new name for Interface Manager, Hanson reviewed trade articles about this wave of PC multitasking systems and pointed out what they had in common. He noticed the term “window” used a lot in the context of terms like “windowing system” and “windowing manager,” so he latched onto “Windows” as a generic term that would help Microsoft own the entire product category. Every time someone referred to windowing systems from then on, they would tangentially be promoting the “Windows” brand.

It’s interesting how popular single word, simple descriptions for company and product names are today (Block, Meta, etc.) but Windows set the trend all the way back in 1985. This is a fun look back at how it all came into fruition.