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.
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?