Bad Product Names: How They Happen / by Lewis Lin

There are several reasons for the poor product names.

Uninspired marketers
There are simply some marketers who didn't care enough about their product to put proper effort into coming up with a good name.  I would put Microsoft Family Safety in this category.  And it looks like the executive in charge didn't care either.

Opinionated bureaucrats
Sometimes, the influential executives care too much.  Decision makers with limited marketing experience start throwing ideas out.  And unfortunately they're influential enough to have these bad names stick.  That's why you get products with "RT" appended to it.  Apparently RT doesn't mean real-time; instead it's much, much geekier.  Yes, some engineering VP cried and moaned enough to get their way.  Good luck explaining that one to a 55 year old small business owner.  (Details: What Does the ‘RT’ In Windows RT Stand For?)

Indecisive and weak marketing leaders
The role of a strong marketing leader is to clarify the brand strategy & hierarchy.  For example, P&G's leadership team made a conscious decision to have strong product names (e.g. Tide, Swiffer, Pampers).  They opted out of using the corporate brand as an umbrella brand.  In other words, it's not "P&G Tide" or "Procter and Gamble's Pampers."  At Microsoft, there's no clarity around the brand strategy.  Sometimes Microsoft is the umbrella brand e.g. "Microsoft Office."  Other times, the umbrella brand is left out such as "Xbox" or "Bing."  At other times, Microsoft uses multiple umbrella brands such as "Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail Premium."  Microsoft has no shortage of run-on product names -- and it's largely because of indecision.