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Microsoft Halting Use of the Term ''Metro''

By - Source: ZDNet | B 54 comments

Microsoft has reportedly received a trademark infringement complaint over its use of the "Metro" term.

The term "Metro" and Microsoft's new blocky user interface have synonymously gone hand-in-hand ever since Microsoft began openly detailing Windows Phone 7 last year. "Metro" describes a departure from the Windows of old, a geometric, typography-heavy, modern interface ideal for touch-based devices. It's the central look and feel on Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, Office 2013, Visual Studio 2012 and other new and upcoming products.

But now Microsoft's use of the "Metro" term may soon come to an abrupt end. Several sources are reporting that Microsoft's Legal and Corporate Affairs team has distributed a memo to all internal and external parties banning the use of the "Metro" term. The memo reportedly claims that the Redmond company has been threatened with legal action for infringing on "Metro" trademarks currently held by German retailer Metro AG.

That said, instead of using the previous Metro-based description, Microsoft will reportedly use the "Windows 8-style UI" terminology when talking about Windows 8 applications. It will also use the "New User Interface" terminology when discussing the company's full Windows 8-based product line-up.

However there's also talk that Microsoft wants to ditch the "Metro" description in fear that it may cause potential user confusion. Microsoft suffered a branding issue ten years ago when the marketing teams got carried away with .Net, thus forcing the company to rename products and overhaul marketing materials. Microsoft is already seeing confusion between WinRT apps, and non-WinRT apps that still use Metro elements.

"We have used 'Metro style' as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines," a Microsoft representative told ZDNet, seemingly dismissing the legal claims. "As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog, we will use our commercial names."

Windows 8 went RTM on Wednesday, August 1, and will go retail by the end of October. Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to hit the market in November.

 

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Top Comments
  • 32 Hide
    kcorp2003 , August 3, 2012 12:12 AM
    call it, "craptacular UI"
  • 25 Hide
    randomizer , August 3, 2012 12:27 AM
    Windows 8 has two UIs, so calling it a "Windows 8-style UI" is even more confusing.
  • 24 Hide
    Supertrek32 , August 3, 2012 12:33 AM
    Now that we've gotten rid of the name, let's get rid of the substance!

    ..please?
Other Comments
    Display all 54 comments.
  • 21 Hide
    xerroz , August 3, 2012 12:10 AM
    Trolls waited for the last minute to threaten Microsoft with legal action
  • 32 Hide
    kcorp2003 , August 3, 2012 12:12 AM
    call it, "craptacular UI"
  • 22 Hide
    tomfreak , August 3, 2012 12:21 AM
    Halt the metro UI for Desktop/laptop.
  • 25 Hide
    randomizer , August 3, 2012 12:27 AM
    Windows 8 has two UIs, so calling it a "Windows 8-style UI" is even more confusing.
  • 20 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , August 3, 2012 12:31 AM
    xerrozTrolls waited for the last minute to threaten Microsoft with legal action

    At least the trolls threaten Microsoft before the official release of Windows 8.
  • 16 Hide
    ethaniel , August 3, 2012 12:33 AM
    I got it: "Kinder UI". "Look at the squares, guys! They show stuff!"
  • 24 Hide
    Supertrek32 , August 3, 2012 12:33 AM
    Now that we've gotten rid of the name, let's get rid of the substance!

    ..please?
  • 9 Hide
    ethaniel , August 3, 2012 12:34 AM
    ethanielI got it: "Kinder UI". "Look at the squares, guys! They show stuff!"

    Maybe that would bring problems with the chocolate eggs too...
  • 12 Hide
    rodbowler , August 3, 2012 12:48 AM
    If / when I have to use Windows 8, I'll be booting straight to desktop mode. Metro - or whatever they call it - is fine for a handset, and terrible for the desktop. Keep that sort of thing away from the production environment.
  • 18 Hide
    mousseng , August 3, 2012 12:52 AM
    undercovernerd6actually watching all the vids and posts netbook, desktop, phone, you haters seem to not realize that this OS was recoded and designed to use less. Who doesn't want an OS to be faster, better articulated in efficiency and fragment less. Hey there look one click and your in desktop mode. Or you can run the script from techspot.com and boot into desktop. The integration and advancement from computer tab and phone needs to start with a homogeneous structure. Fuel the fire.


    Most people are well aware that W8 is less resource-intensive than W7. The thing about "desktop mode" and "metro mode" is that they're not "modes." The metro UI is an integral part of W8, and while I only tinkered around on it for a couple hours, it feels entirely alien to me compared to W7 - even the desktop. The native lack of a start menu's a lot more startling to me than I anticipated it being, and the start screen they replaced it with is (in my opinion) much less functional and easy-to-use. Menu navigation and the like is something I expected to be confusing at first, but overall it's just not as fluid or simple to me as the menu was.

    Now, all that said, I'm not saying it's a bad OS - I just think Microsoft went about this in all the wrong ways. I'm not complaining either, before those accusations get thrown around - this is just my reasoning for passing up on 8 (also the fact that, iirc, Microsoft has guaranteed support for W7 for the next 8 years).
  • 12 Hide
    shafe88 , August 3, 2012 12:53 AM
    Now if some one would only sue Microsoft for the metro user interface it self, forcing them to replace metro ui.
  • 6 Hide
    Kami3k , August 3, 2012 1:00 AM
    DAMN IT, I misread it thought it was halting metro.

    Oh well, they are being done a favor imo.
  • 16 Hide
    pocketdrummer , August 3, 2012 1:14 AM
    undercovernerd6actually watching all the vids and posts netbook, desktop, phone, you haters seem to not realize that this OS was recoded and designed to use less. Who doesn't want an OS to be faster, better articulated in efficiency and fragment less. Hey there look one click and your in desktop mode. Or you can run the script from techspot.com and boot into desktop. The integration and advancement from computer tab and phone needs to start with a homogeneous structure. Fuel the fire.


    Except win8 is a Siamese disaster. The "Windows 8-style UI" *cough* Metro *cough* doesn't integrate with the Desktop UI AT ALL! If you open a bunch of Metro apps then switch to the desktop, they aren't in the taskbar, they're in the auto-hiding metro taskbar on the left. Go back to the start screen and open the Metro Taskbar and guess what... all the programs open in the "Desktop" aren't there. It just has the desktop. You have to launch the desktop app again THEN select the program you want to use.

    The problem is that nothing in the metro side makes a lot of sense for a full-fledged PC. The interface is simplified to the point that it's a convoluted system to use (wrap your brain around that paradox). I tend to think of Metro as what the gadgets bar was supposed to do in Vista. Do you know of anyone who ever made any real use of it on a desktop system? Probably not. Granted, the Metro version is superior (having the ability to take 1/3 or 2/3 of the screen and a better interface), but it still doesn't replace the desktop from a usability perspective.

    Windows 8 would have been better served if they used the same OS but with the ability to optimize it for the platform it will run on. What works on a touch screen tablet doesn't work on a M&K Desktop. What works on a 10" screen doesn't work on a 26" screen (the inverse being true as well). You can have the underlying system stay the same, but the UI has to work well for the platform.

    Improvements for Win8:
    - Make the desktop the primary base of operations. Make METRO a quasi-full screen window that doesn't cover the taskbar.
    - INTEGRATE the Metro and Desktop taskbars.
    - Come up with some kind of competition to OSX's Expose. Even Ubuntu's fledgling "Unity" has this ability... get with it.
    - Make full version the default apps, not metro versions. (Why the F$%# does the metro IE open as default!?)
    - Move the Metro taskbar hot corner to the bottom left and don't cover the desktop taskbar... or just switch the desktop taskbar with a metro version with a visual distinction.
    - Make SHUTTING DOWN less complicated.

    - There are more, but this comment is already far too long. You guys get the idea. This is NOT the way to homogenize your OS. This is the way to water down your most successful product in an effort to gain relevance in an emerging market, and it will only harm both.
  • 4 Hide
    shqtth , August 3, 2012 1:22 AM
    Metro is used as a prefix in a lot of things. why don't they just call it MetroUI ?

    they can't get sued over using a coined word.
  • 11 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , August 3, 2012 1:23 AM
    they could call it super awesome user interface for all i care, but you cna put whip cream on crap but it's still crap.
  • 4 Hide
    drwho1 , August 3, 2012 1:23 AM
    ... and I was thinking it had something to do with the Metro Bus / Metro Train...
  • 7 Hide
    dameon51 , August 3, 2012 1:30 AM
    They should of had this branding figured out a long time ago. Everyone is calling it Metro already, and launch is right around the corner. This is a good example of why Apple is branded as cool and even though MS has great products its branded as WTF IS GOING ON!
  • 5 Hide
    shqtth , August 3, 2012 1:41 AM
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro

    Its like saying 'down town'

    THey can use Metro Windows then
  • -2 Hide
    belardo , August 3, 2012 1:47 AM
    This is stupid. Metro is a generic name. What about metro trains? Metro style clothes, etc. the new names they are throwing out makes little to no sense. Of course Win8 has win8 style UI. Do we call windows 7 the "win7ui"???

    Sounds like a lot of bull. And besides, metro-ag whatever has no meaning in the USA.
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