What does Microsoft have against the number 9?

Billy MacInnes wonders just what reasoning lies behind Microsoft's decision to jump from Windows 8 to 10

What does Microsoft have against the number 9? It’s a question many people are asking now that the software giant has hopped from Windows 8 to Windows 10 without even the briefest acknowledgement of Windows 9. Alright, not that many are asking the question but it has given to the not very funny joke about Windows going straight from 8 to 10 because 7 ate 9.

I wonder if it has something to do with The Beatles track Revolution 9 from the White Album. Those of you fortunate not to have heard the Fab Four’s temporary eight minute foray into the avant garde will be unfamiliar with its almost eternal loop of someone saying “number nine, number nine” again and again. Paul McCartney, wisely, argued against its inclusion on the album but lost out.

As an aside, John Lennon considered nine to be his lucky number. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1970, he said: “Nine turned out to be my birthday and my lucky number and everything.” Lennon was born on 9th October 1940. His first home was 9 Newcastle Road, Wavertree, Liverpool. Spookily, another track he released during his solo career entitled #9 Dream, which featured on his ninth non-Beatles album was issued in September (the ninth month) and reached number nine in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US.

Anyway, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella obviously doesn’t have a thing about the number nine (unless he believes it’s an unlucky number). According to this article on CNET, a number of reasons have been provided but I’m not convinced by most of them. However, it does provide a link to a post on reddit which may have the most plausible explanation for the decision to bypass nine.

It reads:

Microsoft dev here, the internal rumours are that early testing revealed just how many third party products that had code of the form

 

       if (version.StartsWith (“Windows 9”))

         {  /* 95 and 98 */

         }  else  {

 

and this was the pragmatic solution to avoid that.

There’s a lively discussion on the page suggesting that while the theory sounds plausible, not everyone is convinced.

There is one other reason, of course: Microsoft realised that by going straight from Windows 8 to Windows 10, it would get more coverage of its plans because a lot more people would be interested in why it left out Windows 9 than might have been interested in the news that it was preparing the next release of its venerable OS.

This was last published in October 2014

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