Embarrassing product names averted: Windows Embedded POS and Windows 10 for Advanced PCs

Raymond C

Windows Embedded for point of sale systems is not called Windows Embedded POS, even though POS is the the industry standard acronym for the term point of sale. Because in the English language, POS is also a slang acronym for something much less complimentary.

To their credit, the Windows Embedded team realized this and named the product Windows Embedded POSReady.

The version of Windows 10 designed for high-end systems is called Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. But that wasn’t its original name. The original name was Windows 10 for Advanced PCs.

That name was used for some time, until someone in a meeting pointed out that this resulted in an unfortunate acronym. He had to explain what fap meant to the other people in the meeting.

I guess this is not entirely unexpected, since the team that produced Windows 10 for Advanced PCs was originally going to call themselves the Windows Technology Foundation group, until somebody pointed out what that acronym stood for.

Related reading: Why every advertising agency needs to have a review panel of twelve-year-old boys. The importance of having a review panel of twelve-year-old boys, episode 2.


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  • Mog

    However Windows CE did slip through. It’s generally shortened to WinCE. Not even an acronym, just a word. At least not rude but not exactly complimentary.

  • 紅樓鍮

    I imagine the free software fundamentalists would have latched onto a name that got abbreviated WTF.

    It also reminds me of the Ancillary Function Driver, which I think Raymond has covered in one of his posts.

  • Paul Attryde

    Um, no.
    There was a thing called Windows Embedded for Point of Service, which was still known in the retail industry as WEPOS.

    “This download is a Service Pack 3 (SP3) update for Windows Embedded for Point of Service (WEPOS). This SP3 update includes all previously released Windows XP security updates, hotfixes, and select out-of-band releases that are applicable to systems running the WEPOS operating systems.”

    Yes, someone did change the name later on (to PosReady 2009, and then PosReady 7), but WEPOS was already a shipping, GA product by then.

    • GL

      That someone must be Microsoft Renaming and Rebranding Group, lol!

      I wonder how difficult it would be to come up with an acronym free of embarrassing collisions.

  • Rickard Olsson

    When MS bought Sendit back in ’99, the original name was to be Microsoft Mobile Internet, but someone thought that MSMI could be read out as “A mess, am I” so they changed it to MS MIBU – Mobile Internet Business Unit.

  • Linus Kardell

    And you may want to check with people speaking other languages as well, as with Honda Fitta in Sweden.

    • Patrick

      When the Zune was about to come out, an email circulated amongst French Canadians asking whether we found it offensive. It does sound like a word we use to refer to a male organ. But the consensus was that it wasn’t particularly offensive. And it was probably too late to change it.

  • word merchant

    You just can’t win: some words start off being utterly benign, but develop their bad karma later. A fine example of this is ‘vista’.

  • Jan Ringoš

    One of our product is named “Braiding-/Spiral-Monitoring” …so BDSM.exe it is.

    Also I love POSReady 2009, that it only recently stopped getting updates. Still have it in a VM for testing because yes, customers have tons of them deployed, often with no near future plan to upgrade or replace.

  • Yuri Khan

    Speaking of funny acronyms, I like the one for Command/Query Responsibility Segregation. I pronounce it as “secure ass”.

  • Chris Crowther

    My current favourite is everytime someone at work mentions CBT for our product. What they mean is “Computer Based Training”; unfortunately it also has a couple of other meanings…both of which seem appropriate at times.

    • Jan Kraetzschmar

      While that topic is unfortunate enough to only warrant a redirect to “Educational technology”, at least it has secured a top spot on the Wikipedia disambiguation page among other computing terms such as “closed beta-testing” and “complete binary tree”.