No, not that M, the other M, the one called Max

Raymond Chen

Code names are rampant at Microsoft. One of the purposes of a code name is to impress upon the people who work with the project that the name is only temporary, and that the final name will come from the marketing folks (who sometimes pull through with a catchy name like Zune, and who sometimes drop the ball with a dud like Bob and who sometimes cough up monstrosities like Microsoft WinFX Software Development Kit for Microsoft® Pre-Release Windows Operating System Code-Named “Longhorn”, Beta 1 Web Setup). What I find amusing are the project which change their code names. I mean, the code name is already a placeholder; why replace a placeholder with another placeholder? One such example is the experimental project released under the code name Max. The project founders originally named it M. Just the letter M. Not to be confused with this thing code named M or this other thing code named M. In response to a complaint from upper management about single-letter code names, the name was changed to Milkshake, and the team members even made a cute little mascot figure, with a straw coming out the top of his head like a milkshake. I’m not sure why the name changed a second time. Perhaps those upper level managers didn’t think Milkshake was a dignified-enough name. For whatever reason, the name changed yet again, this time to Max. (Wikipedia claims that the project was named after the pet dog of one of the team members; I have been unable to confirm this. Because I haven’t bothered trying.) There’s no real punch line here, sorry. Just one example of the naming history of a project that went by many names.

Bonus chatter: Apparently the upper management folks who complained about the single-letter code name M were asleep when another product was code-named Q (now known as Windows Home Server).


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