Microsoft applies for trademark on 'Mod'

Microsoft applies for trademark on 'Mod'

Summary: Could Microsoft be hoping to use 'Mod' as a replacement for 'Metro'? A new trademark application leaves the door open.


Back on December 9, Microsoft applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a trademark on "Mod."


Might this be Microsoft's long-awaited replacement for "Metro"? In August 2012, just before launching Windows 8, Microsoft officials conceded that the company would no longer be using "Metro" to describe the tiled interface and design language at the heart of its Windows Phone and Windows operating systems. Though Microsoft officials never admitted publicly the reason for the pull-back, a naming dispute with the German partner Metro Group is believed to be the reason behind Microsoft's Metro naming crisis.

Since that time, different teams at Microsoft have used different words as substitutes for "Metro" and "Metro-Style." Some teams have favored "immersive," while others have used "Windows Store" or "Windows 8." And still others have used the word "Modern" as the replacement for Metro.

As NeoWin reported on December 28, Microsoft has applied for trademarks for "Windows Mod," "Office Mod" and "Microsoft Office Mod." Maybe Office Mod is the hoped-for name for the Metro-Style versions of the four core Office apps Microsoft is building (as part of the codename "Gemini" wave)?

Perhaps Mod will be the new Metro. Or perhaps it's something else entirely. One of my contacts said he wondered whether "Mod" might be shorthand for "module." Maybe Microsoft's Windows Mod and Office Mod -- should the trademark application win approval -- will simply be some kind of new programming aid to help developers build more Microsoft-centric apps?

I've asked Microsoft officials for comment on the trademark filing. If I get a response, I'll update this post.

It's worth noting Microsoft applies for many trademarks it never ends up using commercially or publicly. Still, this one is intriguing....

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Software Development, Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The product

    makes the name. The name doesn't make the product. Dr Pepper doesn't call to mind a soft drink. Oldsmobile lasted a hundred years as a car company. It is likely that Ballers replacement will reevaluate the product lines and the branding in light of what Ed Bolt recently and politely described as the markets "tepid response to Windows 8" .
    • will the replacement...

      Abandon win8 in favor of an OS that can't run on mobile devices such as win7? Or perhaps use apple's model and use a smartphone OS instead, forcing8 'tepid' customers to choose or make multiple purchases?
      widow maker
      • 8 > 7

        I have 8 installed on all my home devices and I have to use 7 and OS X at work. I prefer Windows 8. It is hard going back to 7, it feels awkward.

        Where 8 really excels is for all-in-one device users, by that, I don't mean iMac like desktops with a large screen, I mean someone who uses a tablet with a keyboard dock and a desktop dock, going from 8" or 10" mobile device up to a full desktop with 24" or 27" display. This is where Windows 8 is at home. Instead of having an iPad and an iMac (or MacBook Pro), I just need one device to cover all scenarios.

        The apps scale relatively well, compared to iOS and Android, where they are pretty much built for a set of display sizes and moving from an 8" to a 27" display doesn't really work.

        Yes, some (many) desktop apps are poorly written and don't cope well with high dpi displays (Adobe being a prime example), even though the abilities have been built into the OS since the early to mid 90s (and improved upon over the years).

        Having used iPad and iMac, I much prefer the fully integrated experience of having one machine which goes from being a tablet to a fully enabled desktop computer, using the same interface and the same apps.
        • What a tool....

          sorry Microsoft is not handing out bonus' this year. You would not have received one anyway. Your trolling is piss poor and dollars short for Microsoft sales.
    • WindowsMod = Windows on Android / Chrome Devices

      I think we have all got it wrong.

      Imagine if WindowsMod would allow users to install Windows or Windows Phone on Chrome tablets or Android phones.

      Imagination run wild or a distinct possibility?
      • It's totally "run wild"

        And just when we are finally breaking away from the Windows monopoly, you dream about returning to that? I don't care what brand you like, more competition is a *good* thing.
      • Apart from..

        the disk space problems (Chromebooks generally have very small SSDs or flash memory drives), they are generally standard PCs with Chrome instead of Windows installed, so no need for "WindowsMod", you can just install Windows on it anyway.
      • AnilShah - more like nightmares run wild!

        Why did you have to ruin a perfectly good 2014 for me??
  • Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

    Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: The Sock-It-To-Me Collection - Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod World
    Tim Jordan
    • I was thinking Mod Squad but either way ...

      Somebody somewhere will come up with a tangential reference to any name they pick. Best to invent a new word... Pskyie Drive, MetStrohs UI :-)
  • MOD is the new RT?

    MOD is a bit more descriptive than RT... but it still doesn't necessarily tell the consumer that this is a "touch-centric" OS.

    I don't know why they don't just call it "Windows Mobile" already. And, yes, I'm aware there's already a product with that name, but it's extinct... and since the OS wasn't really used by that many people anyway, any baggage it carries will be unknown to most consumers.
    • otherway around

      i thought RT was headed for extinction, since the old windows mobile team is now running the RT development group.
      • Not killed off--reborn, I think...

        I don't think RT is being killed off. I think they're going to combine it somehow with Windows Phone OS. Both run on ARM.
        • RE: Not killed off--reborn, I think...

          Can you elaborate on what functionality will be taken from each to create the reborn OS. I know that OEMs had a problem with RT's UEFI restrictions. What is your prediction concerning UEFI and will we be able to install from anywhere or just from the Microsoft store? How about open source software, will we be able to install open source software on Microsoft's reborn OS?
          Tim Jordan
          • What?

            I can't think of a single thread saying the problem with RT was the UEFI. It was dropped by most because, and this is what they said, there wasn't enough demand for it. UEFI was never the issue.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • RE: What?

            The why will no one make an RT device other than Nokia and Microsoft?
            Tim Jordan
          • I already answered that, but I'll repeat

            They say there isn't enough sales to warrant continue making them. That's all that businesses care about, sales. If they were selling hundreds of thousands, or millions, then they couldn't care less about anything else. Companies aren't beacons of morality.
            Michael Alan Goff
  • How 'bout this one

    "Identity Crisis", which is what both Microsoft and Apple are going through now.
    D.J. 43
    • But Google isn't?

      Google's going through a bigger identity crisis then anyone - search, ads, glasses, cars, robots, books, DNA, phones, tablets, ect.

      They're the epitome of "through everything we can at the wall to see what sticks" company, and one that's not sure of what it really is in the end.
      • Which explains their dropping lesser used products

        Wave, Reader, etc.