Not all apps that run on Windows 8 are Windows 8 apps. Got it?

Summary:Microsoft has reportedly dropped the term Metro in favor of "Windows 8" in reference to both its new interface and the apps based upon its design. Metro apps will now be called Windows 8 apps, although not all applications that will run on Windows 8 will be Windows 8 apps.

Mary Jo Foley has the scoop on the Metro term fiasco  where Microsoft learned its term used for a good while describing the tiled interface in Windows Phone/8 upset its partner Metro Group. Rather than stand its ground Microsoft has dropped the Metro term from all things Windows, and will now class apps written for the upcoming OS as "Windows 8 apps".

Say no to metro

This term is not only bland but it's bound to confuse just about everyone once Windows 8 hits the market. Previously, Metro apps were the ones written exclusively for Windows 8, but legacy apps were referred to as "desktop apps".

With the name change to Windows 8 apps, the confusion will set in as not all apps that will run on Windows 8 will qualify to be called Windows 8 apps. Those pesky legacy apps will still be called desktop apps, and while I'm told they will be listed in the Microsoft app store (the only place to buy Windows 8 apps) they won't be sold or distributed there. That's apparently because they are not Windows 8 apps. Got it?

So Windows 8 will run Windows 8 apps and desktop apps but they can't all be bought from the Microsoft app store. Microsoft is hoping desktop app developers will rewrite their apps according to the Windows 8 app standards, thus dropping the desktop app designation and making them Windows 8 apps. Got it?

Desktop apps, or legacy apps as we know them, include those written with the Win32 APIs which is a no-no for Windows 8 apps. Any legacy app that requires those APIs cannot be classed as Windows 8 apps even though they will run fine on Windows 8. Got it?

Well, they will run on Windows 8 Pro, not the special RT version for ARM-based tablets. That is the case with one of Microsoft's own Surface tablets which will only run Windows 8 apps, not desktop apps. The Surface Pro tablet will run Windows 8 Pro and thus both Windows 8 apps and desktop apps. Got it?

If this isn't confusing enough for you, Mary Jo adds that the Windows Phone interface, which has nothing to do with Windows 8, will be called the Windows 8 interface going forward. Got it?

None of this name change business has been officially confirmed by Microsoft. Apparently they are too busy in meetings coming up with product terms.

Topics: Windows, Legal, Microsoft

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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