Holy cow, I wrote a book!
One of the things that happens when you arrive at Microsoft
is you are assigned an email account,
and the name of that account
becomes your identity.
The IT department has a set of rules which they follow to arrive at
your account name,
but you can petition for reconsideration
if the result of their algorithm produces something you don't like.
You have more flexibility with your display name.
you may commonly go by a
less formal version of your legal name,
or you may
go by your middle name
or you may choose to
adopt an English name
as your professional name.
But even though you have flexibility here,
you don't have total freedom.
I doubt that a request for my name to show up in the address book
would be approved.
There is a third component to your name, however,
that you do have much more freedom with.
The official name for it is the differentiator,
and it appears in parentheses after the rest of your name.
Here are some common uses for this bonus text:
Originally, the differentiator also was submitted for approval,
but the people who were responsible for approving them
must have gotten tired of wading through thousands of boring
requests for approval for this and other
categories of personnel record changes that used to require approval.
People are now simply trusted not to choose differentiators
that are offensive or misleading.
Some people have used this new freedom for humorous purposes.
One prominent member of the application compatibility team
has a non-English name that people often pronounce incorrectly.
For the sake of discussion, let's say his name is Lav.
At first, he signed his email
–Lav, rhymes with Dave
After a few months, based on a suggestion from a colleague
(who might have been me), he changed it to
–Lav, doesn't rhyme with "have"
At this point, things got silly pretty quickly.
A few months later, the signature changed to
–Lav, rhymes with orange
The last step was changing the differentiator after his name in the
If you look him up, he is listed as
"Lav Pivo (ORANGE)".