Microsoft: don't call it Metro, call it 'Windows 8'

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After a seeming naming dispute with a European partner (cough ... Metro Group ... cough), Microsoft has decided to switch rather than fight over the name of its Metro design language.

(Credit: Microsoft)

The new substitute terminology upon which the software developer has reportedly decided is — drum roll — "Windows 8".

Here's the official guidance, according to our sources: anything currently/formerly known as a "Metro-style application" (with or without a hyphen) will now be known officially as a "Windows 8 application". References to the "Metro user interface" will now be replaced by "Windows 8 user interface". And instead of saying "Metro design", the software developer and those adhering to its official guidelines will be using the words "Windows 8 design".

It looks as though some OEMs might have got the memo, too. Check out Lenovo's promo page for its newly unveiled Windows 8 ThinkPad Tablet 2 (thanks to @Windows4Live for the pointer to this one). We've added an arrow to show where "Windows 8 Apps" are mentioned:

(Credit: Lenovo)

We asked Microsoft to comment on whether "Metro" is officially being replaced by "Windows 8", but have not received a response yet.

As late as just a few days ago, some divisions at Microsoft were still trumpeting the word "Metro", using the name to refer to the tiled interface with bold Segoe-font typographic elements that it has been honing since it rolled it out as part of Windows Media Center and Zune several years ago. It seems that the many references to Microsoft Metro will be expunged going forward (not sure whether it will be retroactive, too) in documents, packaging, websites, books, training materials and more from Microsoft and partners.

When Microsoft introduced that same interface on Windows Phone, officials briefly referred to Metro as a code name. Since that time, no Microsoft official that we know of has called it a code name. Instead, Metro became a shorthand way to refer to the new look and feel — and, in the case of applications, a way to refer to apps built using the new WinRT (Windows Runtime) programming interface that is part of Windows 8 and on tap to be part of Windows Phone (in the form of WinPRT).

So, what about Windows Phone? After all, it was around the time of the Windows Phone 7 launch that Microsoft first made hay about its Metro philosophy, design and style. My contacts are hearing that Microsoft is going to use the same "Windows 8" naming conventions when talking about Windows Phone, going forward. So the Metro interface on Windows Phone is now known as the "Windows 8 interface" on Windows Phone.

We have no idea why Microsoft couldn't come to some kind of terms, monetary or otherwise, with Metro Group, which is identified in an internal email as being "an important European partner". Metro Group is one of the biggest retailers in the world, and, I'm assuming, will figure in Microsoft's Windows 8 distribution plans.

Don't blame us if you don't like the new names; we just do the reporting here. But feel free to share your opinions below.

Via ZDNet US



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