Microsoft has posted a lot of information about the name change from Windows NT 5.0 to Windows 2000 today, including a site that attempts to explain the change. Microsoft says that Windows NT 5.0 is a major milestone and is therefore the obvious time to change. The "NT" moniker apparently denoted business, not consumer, usage to most customers, and Microsoft was eager to find a common name they could use across all of their OS products because. This need was amplified by the fact that the next consumer upgrade to Windows 9x would be based on NT, not Windows 9x.
Thus, the name Windows won out over NT. And since Microsoft was already changing to a date-based naming scheme ("Windows 95," "Windows 98," "Office 2000," etc.), the name Windows 2000 made sense. It stands to reason that the upcoming upgrade to Windows 98 (not due until what would have been the Windows NT 6.0 timeframe) will likely be dubbed "Windows 2001" or whatever.
"Windows NT was first released five years ago as a specialized operating system for technical and business needs," said Jim Allchin, a senior vice president at Microsoft. "Today it has proven its value as the preferred technology for all users who want industry-leading cost effectiveness, rich security features and demonstrated scalability. Windows NT will be the basis for all Microsoft PC operating systems from consumer products to the highest-performance servers. Windows NT is going mainstream."
And as Windows NT--excuse me, Windows 2000--moves into the mainstream, we can finally leave the DOS roots of legacy Windows behind us.
"The new name also serves our goal of making it simpler for customers to choose the right Windows products for their needs," said Brad Chase, VP of marketing for the personal and business systems group at Microsoft. "The new naming system eliminates customer confusion about whether 'Windows NT' refers to client or server technology. Also, it was time to eliminate the term 'workstation' from Windows NT Workstation. With improvements across the board in ease of use, mobile support and total cost of ownership, Windows 2000 Professional is the right choice for all business users. It's no longer just for high-end workstations.