Why the next version of Windows is Windows 10 and not 9

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 30, 2014
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Microsoft, Windows 10

Microsoft revealed information about the next version of Windows today and one of the big surprises is that the next version of Windows will be Windows 10 and not Windows 9.

Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 to be precise, is the current version of Windows which succeeded Windows 7. It felt natural to many that the next version of the operating system would be called Windows 9 because of that.

Names are not set in stone though as Microsoft has shown in the past. The move from Windows Vista to Windows 7 was not really expected either and it did work out quite well for the company.

Windows 10 on the other hand breaks the pattern as 9 should have followed 7 and 8. Users who comment on sites such as The Verge are confused by Microsoft's decision and it is likely that Microsoft could have avoided this by using a different number or name entirely.

Why Windows 10 then and not another name?

One could argue that it does not really matter how the next version of Windows is called as it does not really matter if it is called Windows 9, Windows 10, Windows One or Windows Threshold.

Most consumers get the system pre-installed on devices they purchase, and the ones that buy operating systems separately are usually not confused that easily.

But is it really that confusing? If you want to buy the latest version of Windows and find Windows 10 listed by stores, would you really wonder why there is no Windows 9 if you are running a system with Windows 7 or 8? Or would you simply assume that 9 does not really matter because there is 10 available already?

If you read Microsoft's announcement on the official Windows Blog you will notice that Windows 10 is seen as a new beginning for Windows.

Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows. Windows 10 unlocks new experiences for customers to work, play and connect. Windows 10 embodies what our customers (both consumers and enterprises) demand and what we will deliver.

That's why Microsoft picked Windows 10 as the new name and not Windows 9. If it would have picked Windows 9, it would fall in line with the previous versions of Windows. Windows 10 however symbolizes a new beginning both for the operating system and Microsoft as well.

Microsoft could have named it Windows One as well for example and it would not have made much of a difference either.
Fun Facts and wild guessesInfoworld writer Pete Babb

    predicted the skipping of Wind0ws 9 back in April 2013 (April's Fools).Windows 10 was picked to be eye to eye with Apple's OS X operating system.Windows 8.1 is considered Windows 9 because 8+1=9.Windows 9  is pronounced nein, the German word for No.

Sign-ups for Microsoft's Windows Insider Program start tomorrow while the operating system itself will be released in late 2015 according to the company.What's your take on this? Why Windows 10 and not another name?

Why the next version of Windows is Windows 10 and not 9
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Why the next version of Windows is Windows 10 and not 9
Windows 10 is the new name for Microsoft's upcoming operating system that will be released in late 2015. Find out why 10 was picked and not 9.
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  1. Qaiser said on December 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    nice and informative post, keep it up

  2. beemeup3 said on October 4, 2014 at 10:13 am

    As Anonymous and jinalbert said, the name “Windows 10” is to avoid conflicts with legacy code identifiers. You certainly don’t want your latest OS to be treated as though it was one of your oldest just because many programs treat any Windows version that begins with “9x” as Win95/98. Changing the name to “10” is a simple and practical solution to a potentially aggravating problem.

  3. jinalbert said on October 3, 2014 at 3:29 am

    I heard another story that Microsoft had to change from 9 to 10, because “Windows9” may causes some legacy applications to fail. Some application are still checking for “Windows9” string for Windows95/98!!

  4. Lindsay said on October 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I honestly don’t care what it’s called. The name has no effect on how it works.

  5. Anonymous said on October 2, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Considering that windows 95 and 98 is such a successful OS, to avoid potential coding conflict (think Windows 9*), programs would think that Windows 9 is an obsolete OS. Therefore the only way to go is Windows 10

  6. r00tedhuman said on October 1, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Next version would be Windows 101 (Windows 10 + 1 = Windows 101)

  7. p3t3r said on October 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    “Windows 9” sounds like “Windows? Nein!”. This might confuse german customers. :-)

    1. Lindsay said on October 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Only if it’s called “Windows no” in German.

  8. shyamlal said on October 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm
    1. Jim said on October 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      Makes as much sense as any other theory I’ve heard. Definitely possible.

  9. Dario said on October 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I think they actually skipped 9 to keep up with OSX. So that they can release Windows 11 soon after and hopefully more people will move from OSX to Windows 11 because 11 sounds higher than 10 (OS10), right? Same thing happened with the browser wars between Chrome and Firefox.


  10. Grantwhy said on October 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Silly question, have Microsoft used the word “Ten”, or only the number “10” ?

    If they’ve only used “10”, then I’ve got an idea why they jumped 9.

    A silly, stupid idea, but still …… ?

    -> It’s not Windows 10, it’s actually Windows Two (aka, the next generation)

    as the joke goes: There are 10 types of people in the world. Those that know binary and those that don’t.

    hey, I said it was a silly, stupid idea :p

  11. Ken Saunders said on October 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    “fisher price”


    I was tricked into using the worst thing that they ever made, Vista.
    When 7 came out, I was shocked and pissed that there weren’t any decent and financially reasonable offers to upgrade although I shouldn’t have been. MS has always been about the $ and considering how long IE6 stayed around and the still massive amount of users using XP, they don’t care who uses what or who buys what as long as someone is buying something.
    They could easily do an upgrade/incentive offer for XP (and other) users and get more people on more modern (albeit inferior) versions and increase sales while doing it.
    But they won’t.
    They choose not to.

    I promised myself to never buy another Windows OS after the Vista thing.
    I used Fedora for a while and while I did like it (a lot), the learning curve was to big and got in the way of productivity so I had to go with Windows 7.
    I broke a promise to myself but at least I was using the fixed version of Vista.
    Mac’s are just too damn expensive and that’s why they’ll never hold a majority of market share.

    Oh, this was about the name/versioning?
    These are the only numbers that people see when considering purchasing a Windows OS. $119.99 or $199.99 for Pro

  12. Paul(us) said on October 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Considering that every outer release from Windows has been a disaster dating back to the times from Windows 3.1. So considering that release success Windows 9 should have been a good steady release once again. Knowing this your forewarned, that Windows 10 will be a disaster with Biblical proportion! :-)

  13. Gary Cameron said on October 1, 2014 at 5:15 am

    The bottom line is 10 instead of 9 works out to steer manure marketing.

  14. anon said on October 1, 2014 at 4:29 am

    Still looks like it was designed at Fisher Price. Well done MS.

    1. Andrew said on October 1, 2014 at 4:41 am

      still better compared to the fisher price looking xp imo

  15. Joseph said on October 1, 2014 at 2:10 am

    It’s Simple. Its Windows 10 because Windows 7 8 9.

    If you didn’t get that, say it out loud.

    1. Jim said on October 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Nice. +1

  16. Work Shy said on October 1, 2014 at 1:59 am

    They’re trying to convey the idea of the great leap foward. Lipstick on a pig improves nothing. Get the freaking tiles/cloud/app store off my desktop OS please. The beards need to build a real, useable alternative ‘cos we need somewhere to go when 7 becomes obsolete.

    1. Jan said on October 1, 2014 at 8:57 am

      “Get the freaking tiles/cloud/app store off my desktop OS please.”

  17. Wayfarer said on October 1, 2014 at 1:56 am

    “Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows. Windows 10 unlocks new experiences for customers to work, play and connect. Windows 10 embodies what our customers (both consumers and enterprises) demand and what we will deliver.”

    Roughly translated as Blah, Blah, Blah…. Not an iota of real information. The janitor could have issued that statement.

    If MS executives didn’t live in a world of their own, they might grasp that their hype and fluff damages rather than impresses.

  18. Zeus said on October 1, 2014 at 1:29 am

    The only way I’d consider moving to 10 is if they offered a way to disable the completely unwanted “App” layer.

    My experience with windows 8.x was a clownshoes nightmare where one minute I’m running IE, and the next I’m running some weird, full screen, crippled App version of IE. And no one wants to run IE in the first place! Why would they want two versions on the same computer?!

    It felt like there were two versions of every task and program, fighting for dominance. And that’s not even getting into the constant BSODs, which probably have more to do with driver incompatibilities, but who can say? To me, trying to simultaneously run a touch-screen portable device “App” OS on top of a normal mouse-driven “Desktop” OS is going to cause some major problems, and if there’s no way to disable it, count me out.

    1. Andrew said on October 1, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      1. IE isn’t a bad browser nowadays
      2. I never ran into that issue of accidently going from desktop IE to Metro IE.
      3. They wont have “full screen” metro apps anymore since technically they’ll be windowed

  19. Keith D said on October 1, 2014 at 12:46 am

    I don’t care what they call it. If it works well, that’s all that matters.

  20. pschroeter said on October 1, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I think they are trying to as much distance between the next version of Windows and Windows 8 as they can.

  21. Karl Gephart said on September 30, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    What MS really needs to do (among many things) is master hardware/devices and give their OS away free as “Windows,” a cloud-updated OS. Apple doesn’t charge for their updates. Or Chrome OS. Linux is free. An another case of, “Get with it, MS!”

    1. RS said on October 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Apple has offered free OS updates for less than a year. Before that, customers who wanted to upgrade had to buy all the intermediate versions between their current version and the one they wanted. (And hey! Those intermediate versions weren’t even available for online purchase.)

      Maybe free OSes are the future, but I don’t think this is a “Get with it, MS” situation.

  22. Larry said on September 30, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    This is so stupid. I’m already tired of the new Windows.

    This whole post-pc era is crazy annoying. No good desktop solution that can run all the old apps properly.

  23. Tom Hawack said on September 30, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Windows Nine? Nein, Windows 10! Ach, Himmel! as one could expect a foreigner speaking half German could say with a smile in a tavern on a late Berlin by night tour!

    The importance of numbers as well as names in marketing is astonishing, all this concerns the look… or maybe slightly more for those who are interested in the relation between numbers, including the equivalency of letters, and a life’s destiny, should it be that of a product.

    True that 8.1 triggers a synapse to wonder about an 8+1 leading to 9… brains love dialectics.
    I wonder if Windows 12 will skip to 14, by the way.

    10 is a new start, 9 an end. 10 is the first step of the second floor, 10 sounds nice. I still prefer 9, but that’s personal.

    I moved from XP to 7 and missed Vista, I’m bound to jump from 7 to 10 with only a version between the two : makes me feel better.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 30, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      I’m considering moving from 7 to 10 but only if 10 offers something that I find interesting.

      1. Tom Hawack said on October 1, 2014 at 12:08 am

        Is it that you’re running — I mean besides testings — Windows 7 and not 8.1, as (still) a majority of users?

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 1, 2014 at 12:40 am

        I have two PCs, one with Windows 7 and one with Windows 8.1. W7 is the main one though.

  24. Pants said on September 30, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    10 signifies a milestone .. hey, double digits
    10 sounds zippy and when you say it your mouth semi-smiles, 9 sounds negative and has no personality and you sound like “zee germans” (no offence, go see basil fawlty)
    10 is further away from 8 than 9 is and we all know what 8 was like
    10 is similar to OS X, where X stands for 10 : Yosemite is 10.10, Mavericks is 10.9
    Hanging Ten is considered one of the most impressive and iconic stunts one can perform with a surfboard
    The Trojan War lasted 10 years and Odysseus spent a further ten years getting home (is this an omen)
    Sachin Tendulkar wore jersey No. 10 (it was retired)
    10 is the number of the beast .. wait.. wut?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 30, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      Well don’t f… with Poseidon ;)

  25. Gonzo said on September 30, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    It’s sad that all the hype is about the name and not the product.

    None of the relevant questions asked during the Q&A were answered.

    13:44pm: The main event is over. On to Q&A now. First question: Any incentive for Windows 7 and XP users to upgrade? Microsoft declines to answer.

    13:45pm: Second question: Can you talk about the name, Windows 10? Again, a vague answer from Microsoft. “When you see the product in its fullness, we think you’ll agree with us on the name.” Weird.

    14:01pm: Question about how long Windows 10 will “last.” Microsoft answered that it can support operating systems for a long time. No answer on whether Windows 10 is the last major release, though (which is probably what the questioner was after).

    Waste. Of. Time. Thanks Joe!

    At least the rumors were true, Win 9 is free….. from existence.

    1. JohnMWhite said on September 30, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      I noticed that. None of the information coming out seems, well, informative. It’s like Microsoft expects people to be wowed that they were all expecting one number and, PSYCHE!, it’s a different number. Who cares about the number? If they can’t answer the question of whether there is an incentive to upgrade from XP, then what are they even trying to sell?

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 30, 2014 at 11:58 pm

        I doubt that there will be an incentive to upgrade from XP. It would be the clever thing to do though.

      2. Andrew said on September 30, 2014 at 11:52 pm

        True, but I am betting on the synergy between devices… then I might move back to a windows fone

  26. InterestedBystander said on September 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    It’s quite odd. MS SkyDrive had to become OneDrive, the Metro interface had to become the Modern interface. Bing apps are being rebranded as MSN apps (probably a sensible move, that one). And now Win 8.1 jumps to Win 10. It makes me feel like MS marketing is headed up by a Monty Python loony in a carrot-colored wig. “And now, Microsoft Lobster-Barrel-Pork V2 DEV special edition!”

    1. Rhine Water said on November 12, 2014 at 4:33 am

      Could “Bing” have been nothing else than a nifty marketing trick either, targeted to the black public ? Black consumers have been “coming of age” recently IMHO (speaking marketingwise, on a large scale), so coming up with something to put into their minds which makes them feel subconsciously there is some connection with Bing Crosby might work well…. and now that it has done it’s job, time to call it something else again….

      Believe me, those are no loonies in marketing. They may make mistakes, but they know what they are doing, I am convinced of that.

  27. Andrew said on September 30, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Or maybe it’s just a marketing ploy? Common people with 7 with see 10 and think they are heavily outdated…

    Personally I hate the new numbering. I wished they either went to NT version or at least the year.

    1. Rhine Water said on November 12, 2014 at 4:23 am

      Obviously, the reason is to put into the minds of the public that the next version isn’t just “the next version” (which however is what it is of course). It’s a psychological trick (that’s what they do in marketing, don’t they ?). Vista was generally disappointing to the public, so MS called the next version “7” to convince the potential buyer it is something else entirely. And now, with Windows 10, the idea that it will be something “totally new” and not “more of the same” is brought home again by calling it that rather than 9. Brinkmann is even stating this literally in his article.

      It’s just marketing.

    2. Ben said on October 1, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      It’s because there are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don’t.

    3. Doc said on September 30, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Using the “NT version” would be even more confusing; Vista was NT 6.0, Windows 7 was 6.1, and 8.x was 6.2, making the next version by NT kernel version either 6.3 or 7, which are both less than 8.

      1. Andrew said on October 1, 2014 at 9:13 pm

        I have a feeling windows 10 will be NT 6.4

      2. swattz101 said on October 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm

        Windows 8.1 is NT 6.3, so it Win10 would be NT 6.4 or NT7. :-)

      3. Andrew said on September 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm

        I meant instead of going to xp/vista/7/8. I hated the xp name from the beginning… they should have kept it nt version or year

        once they called NT 6.1 “7” then everything got screwed up

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