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

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.

TOPICS: Windows, Legal, Microsoft

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

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  • Better name?

    Having suggested SCHIZO and FIASCO in jest to Mary Jo ... I wonder if MICRO would be possible?
    • Friggin' Hilarious

      I just found this article after wading through the confusing mess on MDSN that Microsoft made of their API strategy by trying (woefully inadequately I might add) to become the New Software Nazi. The author summarizes exactly how I feel with his repetition of "Got it?".

      Microsoft! Take note!

      Your d/dt (Competence) < 0.
      Le Chaud Lapin
  • Microsoft Marketing Tying Itself In More And More Knots

    The more new ideas Microsoft comes up with, the more inept it seems.
    • Just curious

      Do you find this very confusing?
      • Not sure how its possible

        One common name across yet people are finding that confusing. I have my own theories about that.
        Loverock Davidson-
        • What are these theories...

          ”I have my own theories about that”
  • How about

    I like SCHIZO, or Vista 2.0
    D.J. 43
  • How about

    I like SCHIZO, or Vista 2.0
    D.J. 43
  • Again, Pathetic!

    This is getting close to the single worse name change in Microsoft's recent history (aside from the usual techno-geeky words aggregation).

    I do wonder what the creative team behind Metro thinks about this fiasco.

    As if the dual-nature of Windows 8 was not confusing enough for the consumer, let's make sure nobody actually understands anything! Phone included!

    Can it really get worse?
    • Possible Good News This Morning...

      According to "The Verge" this morning, it seems that the expression "Modern UI" is a possible replacement.

      This would make sense since it was used alongside the MoSh acronym (Modern Shell) before the Consumer Preview release.

      Not great but better than "Windows 8".
    • Did you ask Loverock Davidson for the answer to that question?

      Loverock will always give you a good spin........
      Over and Out
  • Desktop apps are referred to as Programs by Microsoft

    As in "Programs and Features". We have Windows 8 Apps and Windows Desktop Programs.

    Microsoft aren't even following their own guidelines on this one though. Office 2013 will be a Desktop Program (or Programs), despite that being part of Microsoft's "legacy" code base and it's not even out yet.

    That said, I don't believe Microsoft has actually classified Desktop Programs as legacy, not only is Office coming but as are Visual Studio, SQL Server to name but two. People are just assuming as Windows 8 Apps are getting all the attention this is the case.

    Windows Essentials 2012 has also just been released too.

    Metro (or Windows 8 Apps) maybe the future but Desktop Programs are going nowhere and Windows will have support for them for years to come, which puts a total kibosh on the likes of Valve and other game developers being worried about Windows future. They'll be able to programme and sell their Windows programs like they always have been.
    • @bradavon

      I think the reason for that is the fact that MS is releasing 2 different tablets. One is an ARM tablet that runs 'apps' and one is a regular Windows 8 tablet that runs traditional programs. Nobody is interested in letting go of actual computers. Even Apple's Tim Cook has said that people will still need computer 'for the forseeable future'. Remember, you can't design much of anything with a tablet.
  • Not all apps that run on Windows 8 are Windows 8 apps. Got it?

    Not a problem, either your application will run on Microsoft Windows 8 or code it so it does. It may not have the official Windows 8 apps name but getting it run is all that matters. Companies would be wise to embrace the Windows 8 interface for simplicity reasons.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • I dont understand....WHY?

      I can't figure out why, when you have 95%+ of the market, you would want to create a new UI that is less useful, and isn't completely compatible with the previous one? Touch already works fine with the current windows UI... I use it all the time. However... even if you want to change the UI, why not just add to the win32 API ? Why make a new incompatible API to run on top of the same kernal and create a splintered eco system? STUPIDITY.
      • There's alot more than

        just surface changes with windows RT apps. Do some more research on the issue first.
        Sam Wagner
      • Why?

        None dare call it a "conspiracy" - that MS & partners, wants everybody on the 64 bit system and leave a perfectly good 32 bit system by the wayside.
        Crashin Chris
      • Staying relevant

        That's the key. Tablets are gnawing away at desktop marketshare in terms of computing devices. In other words, Microsoft is losing it's income. Yes, they could have said x86 / x64 tablets only, but that would mean either a) high end, expensive models or b) low end, cheap and rather clunky experience. I can say that having run Windows 8 Pro Dev Preview, Consumer Preview and Release Preview on an Atom based slate. Not quite outright yuk, but prone to freezing regularly.

        In order to have a smooth UX on low end tablets, Microsoft needed a version of Windows that would run on alternative architecture. The instruction sets are different, so legacy code will break even if it is recompiled.

        Maybe in time all applications will be rewritten as apps and become available to Windows RT. But by then, processors in both ARM and Intel camps will have improved, so maybe x86 / x64 will be cheap and powerful enough to run Windows 8 (not RT) smoothly. No doubt we'll be on Windows 9 and (fingers crossed) Windows R2 by then.

        Lots of change to think about. Too much at stake to just wait and see. RIM didn't change enough and is suffering. I believe the same would happen if Microsoft stuck with x86 only, tablets would slowly erode their income stream. It could easily transpire that Microsoft has changed too much and will suffer. Time will tell. Unfortunately my crystal ball is fresh out of batteries.
  • It could be confusing

    As someone who enjoys tech, I am looking forward to playing with the final version of Windows 8. It gives me something fresh to look at and play with. It will be interesting to see how the average consumer reacts to the change though. I think that is where the Start screen comes into play. The consumer really doesn't need to know whether he/she is launching a Desktop app or and WinRT/Metro app. They press start (either with the keyboard button or the hardware button on the tablet) and then click on the apporpriate tile and the OS does the switching for them. When it comes to tablets, I think the packaging and/or sales people will just have to explain that if you buy the cheaper ARM version, you are not going to be able to load your desktop apps.

    I wish they had not called the interface Metro, WinRT, ARM or even used "Windows" at all at all. I personally think they should have tapped into the X-Box success and started naming their OS after it. Microsoft XOS maybe? X-Phone, X-Tab, X-Box, X-Apps...etc. After all, the start screen, and WinRT/Metro/ARM apps only run in one window and take up the whole screen. So the plural "Windows" doesn't fit. They even took away the glass. Hmmmmmm.
    • It Could be Confusing

      Me too! I think you've hit the nail squarely on the head. I've been calling the Windows Phone x Phone ever since I read that "suggestion" elsewhere and a long time ago on ZDNet.
      The Start Button ... a.k.a. windows key, does the same thing on my laptop just like on the pablet!
      Crashin Chris