One of the more interesting series of conversations I has with Microsoft employees around CES regarded the infamous "Longhorn Reset" (Original Posts: Part 1 | Part 2 | JimAll Video). You see, by trying to put a positive spin on what was going on, Microsoft missed an opportunity to communicate a clear message moving forward that the Longhorn project had actually been axed. According to several people at Microsoft, Windows Vista, while drawing many key themes and much of the research from Longhorn, was actually seen internally as a brand new project.
So instead of saying "Longhorn is dead, we're taking the research and moving on", Microsoft instead called it the "Longhorn Reset", leaving the external perception that the project was still Longhorn, but they were just moving to the Windows Server 2003 codebase. the fact that the server project was still called "Longhorn" hasn't helped any. The fact that they kept publicly calling it "Longhorn" during and after the announcements added significantly to the confusion. Personally, I think that was the only really bad move Microsoft made at the time. Had they gone with a clearer message, they might have actually engendered more good-faith with the community, and it wouldn't have been so maligned in the already-AntiMicrosoft tech press.
Fast forward to today. While Microsoft is at this very moment assembling their product teams for the next release, they have decided to refrain from using codenames for the project. Instead, it is being referred to internally as "Windows v.Next" or "Windows 7". IMO, that takes some of the fun out of the process, at least for online communities. Remember all the Longhorn merchandise and desktop wallpapers? Well, I guess people could stylize the number 7... Anyway, as a side note, you won't see me running out to buy vnextblogs.com, although Steve Sinchak has probably already beat me to it.