Microsoft finally comes clean(er) on post-Metro naming plans

Microsoft finally comes clean(er) on post-Metro naming plans

Summary: 'Metro-style' apps are now to be known as 'Windows Store' apps, according to Microsoft officials.


Ever since acknowledging that they'd be phasing out usage of the "Metro" name, Microsoft officials have offered a steady diet of no comments whenever any of us asked what we should use instead.

This week, however, there's finally a bit of naming clarity, courtesy of Soma Somasegar, the Corporate Vice President of the Developer Division at the company.



Microsoft has been playing up its Metro design language/philosophy as the crux around which its future product design revolves. In early August, Microsoft abruptly put the brakes on external usage of the term, declining to provide reasons why -- beyond saying Metro was meant to be just a codename.

On September 12, as part of its Visual Studio 2012 virtual launch, Microsoft execs are talking up "modern app development." So, is "modern" Microsoft's new substitute for Metro?


"Modern apps" is a sweeping term that mean apps that work on connected devices and make use of continuous services," said Somasegar during a phone interiew I had with him before today's VS 2012 launch. VS 2012 is Microsoft's premiere tool set for developing modern apps, according to Microsoft's latest positioning.

One type of modern app is what used to be called a "Metro-style" app, meaning an application developed using Microsoft's WinRT application programming interface, which will be eligible to be sold through the Windows 8 app store.

The new official name for these Metro-style apps, according to Somasegar, is "Windows Store" apps. Rafael Rivera from Within Windows said he thought this would be the name once he looked at the Visual Studio 2012 RTM code back on August 7. Looks like Rivera was right on the money.

Microsoft is slowly but surely substituting references to Metro-Style apps with Windows Store apps across its own Web sites. This is a move that will take some time given how many references already exist across Microsoft's own sites, Somasegar acknowledged.


So is Microsoft is going to start referring to the Metro design language/philosophy/tiled user interface as "Windows Store"? No. "Windows Store" is, apparently, the new, official replacement for "Metro-Style" only. And what happened to Microsoft's guidance that folks start referring to Metro apps as "Windows 8" apps? I guess that's out the window (pun intended) now....

The new "Windows Store" name creates as many questions as it answers. What do we call Windows Phone apps? Are these also now considered "Windows Store" apps, even though the Windows Phone app store and the Windows Store for Windows 8 and Windows RT apps are totally separate -- though rumored some day to be coming together as one? What about "Windows Store" style line-of-business apps that aren't sold through the Windows Store?

Update: Microsoft is renaming the Windows Phone Marketplace to the Windows Phone Store, officials said on September 12. So maybe this will ease the disconnect around the "Windows Store" name if and when it is applied to Windows Phone apps (?) 

The new "Windows Store" name is a start. Here's hoping more of the post-Metro naming particulars will be shared sooner rather than later.

Topics: Microsoft, Software Development, Windows


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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  • Stupid Name

    The thing that Microsoft fails at the most is marketing.
    • Microsoft naming

      Microsoft naming has always been doubtful.

      First, they always tag "Microsoft" or "Windows" to all their product name. A few years back they started to put "Windows" at the beginning of all product names: Windows Internet Explorer, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail, etc. then with the size of tiles on the taskbar people see only "Windows..." or "Microsoft..." on all applications bars.

      Also constantly renaming stuff doesn't help, how many names Microsoft search engine had before being called Bing? How long before they rename it again? The only constants at Microsoft are Windows, Office, Word, Excel... Everything else seems to change.

      Even in the Windows family, there are such a confusion of names and version numbers: Windows 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8 (and 7 and 8 aren't even their real version numbers!). And I don't even try to understand the mobile family of Windows (CE, Mobile, Pocket, Phone).


      Had that rant in me for a long time and couldn't find a place to spill it... thanks for the opportunity!
      • You forgot Windows CeMENT...

        Which is the combination of Windows Ce, Windows ME and Windows NT...
        Come to think of it, what happened to Microsoft Bob? or NT itself? That's right it was Windows NT 3.51, or Windows NT 4.
      • you forgot 2000

        ...and I was trying to forget ME and ME2 (Vista).
  • Oh wait, the same Windows Store...

    that links to desktop apps as well? (See SkyDrive)

    WOW! What a great name. NOT.

    To have eliminated the Metro name without having a ready replacement shows a level of ineptitude that borders incompetence. This launches them way over that border, landing them in the area of idiots.

    On second thought, I take it back. Comparing them to idiots is offensive to the idiots.
  • Pathetic name

    Is there a marketing team on planet earth with less creativity than Microsoft's? "Windows Store app" is a galactically stupid name:

    1. It's not catchy in the least.
    2. Win32 apps can appear in the Windows Store. They are just basically ads that take you to web page where you buy/install, but it is ambiguous.
    3. Companies will be able to sideload these apps onto devices they manage.

    Whoever chose this man needs desperately to be sacked.
  • Slow Microsoft

    Yeah their marketing is not up to par BUT they have the money and know how to get it where it needs to be. Frankly they are big and slow. That's not an excuse it's reality.
  • Microsoft finally comes clean(er) on post-Metro naming plans

    Makes sense and will be easy for its users to grasp. Windows Store apps come from the Windows Phone Store. Microsoft is always keeping it simple.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Really Lovey?

      The point is that changing the names of things to correct idiotic initial choices seems to be the Microsoft way. I'd think a Windows Phone Store is a store that sells Windows phones. I mean, the Goodyear Tire Store sells tires, right? Giant Foods sells food, Champion Windows sells windows (the glass kind). Do you see where I'm going here, Lovey?

      I think the name of the store should be the Ye Olde Windows Devices Applications Shopping Centre.
      • WhatsamattaU and how are they going to GRASP that

        Can you amagin Loverock Davidson trying to say "Ye Olde Windows Devices Applications Shopping Centre" all hat in one breath? To funny for words. I like it has a nice ring to it...........
        Over and Out
    • Even you are confused

      No, Windows Store apps do *not* come from the Windows Phone Store. The Windows Phone store will be for Windows Phone apps, and the Windows Store will be for Windows Store apps.

      And "Windows Store" apps do not necessarily come from the Windows Store, as companies will be able to side load them.

      Conversation overheard in the near future:

      "I hear you're creating a new application for the Accounting department."
      "What type of application is it?"
      "It's a Windows Store app."
      "Oh, so then we'll need to visit the Windows Store to get it?"
      "No, it will be loaded onto your computer via our Windows 8 device management system."
      "Well, then, why is it called a Windows Store app?"
      "Because Microsoft was too daft to come up with a sensible name."
    • Sorry

      MS shot themselves in the foot and there really isn't any way to spin it positively. But since I am neither employed by, nor hold stock in MS, or any of it's vassals, it doesn't hurt me at all.
      John L. Ries
    • Loverock did you just say "keeping it simple"?

      Or were you really saying to yourself .....just another example of Microsoft "DUMBING" it DOWN for the masses. and you used the word "GRASP" You really are to funny ....hey but its Friday and you've had another week of "GRASPING" to get through it..........WoW that must be really make you feel good.....ah another day and you've earned a another dollar...........
      Over and Out
  • So Store versus Desktop Apps?

    Legacy applications are then Desktop applications, while Metro applications are now Windows Store applications.

    Desktop application is still confusion, should it be not-in-store applications or out-of-store applications??
  • Maybe because a Metrosexual is technically straight

    Microsoft doesn't want to alienate the Homosexual crowd, that has historically been their best customers. You know the ones that willingly bend over and take it up the backside lol
    Troll Hunter J
    • Instead of using Homosexual crowd you shouls have used "LOVEROCK DAVIDSON"

      than it would have reached the same user base and have been a bit more funnier in the long run..........
      Over and Out
  • What a ...


    Hey there ya go MS, Metro is now Mess! So obvious, so intuitive, and yet, simple to grasp.

    My bill's in the mail...
  • So Apps Using Metro Interface Only Available Thru Windows Store?

    In-house-developed apps not deployed through the Windows Store will NOT be able to use the Metro interface?

    That's going to please corporate customers no end...
    • Nope

      No, ldo17, you are trying to make sense of the names, and that is a mistake. Why would you think that a "Windows Store" application would have to be deployed through the Windows Store? You are so naive.

      In all seriousness, Windows Store apps (Metro apps) will be able to be side-loaded by companies.
  • More Mystery Meat....

    More slices of mystery meat from Microsoft. They should just follow Prince's lead and change the name of what used to be called metro-style apps to a symbol. I recommend the question mark or "!@#%$". Makes about as much sense as there current approach.