Microsoft: Don't call it Metro. Call it 'Windows 8'

Microsoft: Don't call it Metro. Call it 'Windows 8'

Summary: Microsoft may go the simple route and replace 'Metro' with 'Windows 8,' my sources are saying.

TOPICS: Windows, Legal, Microsoft

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.


The new substitute terminology upon which the Softies have decided is -- drum roll -- "Windows 8," according to my sources.

Here's the official guidance, my sources say: 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 Softies and those adhering to their 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 new promo page for its just-unveiled Windows 8 Thinkpad Tablet 2 (thanks to @Windows4Live for the pointer to this one). I've added an arrow to show where "Windows 8 Apps" are mentioned:


I asked Microsoft for comment on whether "Metro" officially is being replaced by "Windows 8" and have not received a response so far.

As late as even just a few days ago, some divisions at Microsoft were still trumpeting the word "Metro," using the Metro 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 the many references to Microsoft Metro will be expunged, going forward (not sure if retroactively, too) in documents, packaging, web sites, 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 codename. Since that time, no Microsoft official that I know of has called it a codename. 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).

What about Windows Phone, you may be wondering. 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.

I have no idea as to why Microsoft couldn't come to some kind of terms, monetary or otherwise, with Metro Group, identified in an internal e-mail as "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 me if you don't like the new names; I just do the reporting here... But feel free to share your opinions below.

Update: On August 9, Tom Warren at The Verge published a post with a number of Microsoft references to "Modern" as a possible replacement for Metro. So does this mean "Windows 8" was just a temporary placeholder? Is Modern the new official term? Or is "Modern" meant to be used in specific instances and "Windows 8" when talking about apps? I don't know and Microsoft isn't talking.

Update No. 2: As a couple readers reminded me, "Modern" has been used in connection with Metro before. Remember "MoSH" -- the Modern Shell? That is how Microsoft internally referred inside to the Metro UI on Windows 8.

Topics: Windows, Legal, Microsoft


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).

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  • Microsoft: Don't call it Metro. Call it 'Windows 8'

    I will go one step further and call it 'Microsoft Windows 8' to give Microsoft credit where its due. Simplifies the name quite a bit, you just say Windows 8 and people will associate Microsoft's new modern operating system and user interface with the name.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • who are you really

      You are too over the top with the corny suck-up language to be for real. I'm starting to believe that you are being sarcastic and may not actually the be the rabid MS fanboy that you portray. I don't trust you anymore.
      • "anymore?"

        When did you ever trust Loverock?
      • I hate to tell you this

        But he's actually as blindsided retarded as he sounds.
      • I often wonder

        Is Loverock an actual Eliza, or an jenny18....

        At the end, it doesn't matter -- the same Microsoft junk.
    • Despite of what you are anti Microsoft

      You are making these statements deliberately to provoke people into saying things against Microsoft. You obviously don't care what people say about you because of the anonymity provided by internet, so you must be getting happy when people trash Microsoft along with you. You just need to realize that people understand your trick and get the fact that you don't believe in anything worthwhile but are rather here to make people hate MS. Its a rather poor attempt.
      • A rather poor attempt

        with what they have put out recently, you think anyone who really knows IT needs an additional reason to trash Micro$? After XP and as many tools as there were that help corporate IT.. everything since has just made our jobs that much more difficult.
        • Re: a rather poor attempt

          Careful. If Microsoft makes it too easy on you, then you're out of a job!
          • LOL

            Exactly what I had in mind, if Microsoft just makes Windows even easier to use and maintain than it already is, the IT department may forever be gone in order to save money.

            Now's the time IT lads, find a new Career; IT is just a sub part of eEngineering ;)
    • Sounds like forfeit

      which seems right in line with what they should do. ;-)
    • I'll skip w8.

      I've owned and used all versions of windows since before they knew enough to number them except for ME. W8 is way too far off the trend to interest me.
      I'm hoping w9 will come back to regular windows.
      • "Microsoft: Don't call it Metro. Call it 'Windows 8'"

        Make me.
      • Before the knew to number them?

        Which version would that have been? The first one released in late 1986 was "Microsoft Windows 1.01" (I had a copy of it!).
        Max Peck
      • Windows 8 is far ahead of it's time is a big game changer

        You probably haven't seen Surface PRO in action!
        This device is the first in the world to behave as both a tablet and a Ultrabook in 1 device, this will be my next purchase and I'm sure engineers at Apple are very worried about this device since it will make them think about re-designing Mac OSX and iOS into one OS in the next years.
        Gabriel Hernandez
        • ...says the Microsoft marketing department

          If you unethical, lying shills want to fool people HERE, you'll have to be more subtle about it. This isn't the Fox News technology page; smart people read mary Jo's column.

          -- faye kane
      • Regular Windows?

        You need to define that. It is all the features of Windows 3, 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8 rolled into one?

        Our software installations worked on many version of Windows, but never on ME. That is the only one we never supported.
    • Loverock Davidson........ It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      It will always be METRO ....Long live METRO

      Is That clear Loverock? Did you get that?
      Over and Out
      • HiDumFuk

        Are you deliberately a moron?
        • Kovu401 .....I think you is the "HIDumFuk"

          Kovu401 you have such a pretty face .....I'll bet you make all the boy's very happy.......such a pretty go-tee
          Over and Out
    • Better Yet

      Why not just call it LoseDoze8? As this is the most SECURE and most INNOVATIVE Operating System (O/S) ever made. It would be plainly obvious that you can only get the INTELLECTUAL property from Micr0$uck$, no need to put the company name in.

      @SeanConnery0069, I am a very qualified IT expert, as I own a computer so I know what I'm talking about.