Microsoft: Metro Isn't Called Metro Anymore

Well, this is going to be weird. After calling Microsoft's radically wonderful UI design "Metro" for a couple of years now, Microsoft is said to be ditching the name for legal reasons. So now what the hell do we call it?

According to a source of The Verge, "who wishes to remain anonymous", Microsoft is telling developers to stop calling Metro things Metro because Metro is already taken by some cranky German company called Metro. Metro? Metro! So do we need a new term for the common DNA between Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox, Outlook and Office? Subway?

Or, as is extremely likely, we'll all just go on calling it Metro, because German Metro can't sue us all at once. I am Spartacus.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson has issued a statement on the matter:

We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines. As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialogue to a broad consumer dialogue we will use our commercial names."

[The Verge]



    Surely MS isn't scared of a retail outlet? They can afford good lawyers, plus I like the Metro moniker, sounds kinda exotic.

      Unlike Apple, Microsoft wont use it's lawyers to punish the little guy..

      well, not as much any way :P

        I'd not be surprised if this was it. MS got challenged and as part of its marketing to geeks like us, figured the goodwill from backing down was worth more than the net gain from being able to use a cool name at the price of defending its use.

        Certainly worked on me: MS is letting something go that they don't really need to hold on to in order to compete. It's just a name for an aesthetic AFAIK, not a brand.

        I have been in IT for over 30 years, and I would never ever buy a MacBook Pro, iMac. The guts are the same as most PC computers, so why pay 60% more money just so you can say you have an Apple. I find most people who own apple PCs own them becasue Apple has a great marketing team, but their products are way over priced. It is crazy. A Salesman tells me he has an MacBook pro. I ask him what he uses to make it work with his corporate security. Oh he explains , I use parallels and run Office for Mac. So he spent $2300. and then bought Microsoft software Office for Mac, and runs a virtual machine on the Mac, to run Microsoft Windows. Well ,that is just Smart !!!!! I hope he bought a license for Windows to run on the VM. Having to buy two Operating Systems just so you can think your Cool, just makes you stupid.

          Congratulations on putting millions of consumers into one convenient box then shitting in it. Plenty of people buy Mac because they prefer OSX. I don't think anyone who buys one cares what the price:spec ratio is. If they did, everyone would be making custom towers. They make certain concessions in expense because they might prefer the build quality, track pad, OS etc.

      Not a retail outlet - not a little guy. Metro in Europe has a bigger revenue stream then Microsoft. Its everywhere over there. Let's say it's the equivalent to Woolworth limited just much much bigger and spans all of Europe / Asia

        Interestingly, wasn't Woolies sued by Apple because their most recent logo design looked too much like the fruit?

          There was a rumour - obviously it failed but Metro" has the eu behind it - you'd never see the Australian government step in to a patent etc debate

          I heard something of the sort... even though the logo looks nothing like the Apple logo, except that it is one of many takes on the fruit that is also named apple. Next they will be having to pay Apple royalties for selling granny smiths.

            Wouldn't Apple be infringing on the "Tree of Life of Knowledge of Good and Evil?" Hey, hey!

              The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil are two different trees.

          I still think MS can get away with it. We're talking about totally unrelated businesses. That's why Apple Music and Apple computers can coexist

    Call it "Trance"

    Saying 'used as codenamed' is such a crock, but it's them backpedaling legally.

    Stand up and fight it, or don't get the legal department to retroactively call it 'Windows 8 Style UI'. (See Ars Technica article for that, the lawyers are literally naming it that).

      Maybe they have respect for other's trademarks? Maybe they don't want to be the kind of d**ks Apple seem to enjoy being?

      As its not a product but simply a design language, I don't see why they wouldn't keep using it. Its just a word.

      Windows "longhorn" among other names were also long used code names that the public got to know well.

        As far as I'm aware, longhorn was never used in their marketing and PR. Nor did consumers identity it as such once the official product names were revealed. 'Metro' is a term MS has used consistently in their marketing and was not just a code name.

        They should just stick to their guns and keep using it.

    insist metro just a short for metropolitan? how can that be copyright?

    What? Isn't it acceptable to use similar trademarks if they have no categorical relation?

      Agreed. Something's not quite right - we're not getting the full picture here.

    FFS, you call it METRO. Microsoft aren't allowed to call it that. You can call it whatever the hell you want.

    I suppose the name of the thing doesn't mean too much to MS, or they would have cut a deal to allow them to use it. I think it's quite a snappy name for the aesthetic, and it's a shame it's only being picked up on 18+ months after MS started using it.

      Actually, Metro dates back to 2006 and was first used in WinXP Media Centre and Zune. And it was supposedly inspired by the signs used on Seatlle's Metro train system, hence the name. Of course, it has been watered down considerably since then, first by WinPhone and now by Win8, but the original concept of using the data as the UI is by far the most elegant. My ZuneHD has no icons, no live tiles, just text that you click on. e.g. The main menu is just a list of titles and you click on the title of the thing you want, to be taken to the next level down. you don't get to clickable boxes until you get album covers, it is always the text you click on. If you want to navigate out, you just click on the top header, which is zoomed in so you can only see the bottom left corner of it, and it takes you back up one level. Its really elegant and simple, the live tiles kind of ruin it a bit.

    Surface UI. Obviously.

      @ Rick I rarely comment but am here to give you a +1, sir.

      Until they get sued by the creators of the TV show Surface.

    You guys realise that "metro" is a European retail outlet - similar to cash and carry. It's the 5th largest retailer in the world behind Walmart. It's all over Europe and you can bet that the eu union won't allow Microsoft to sell their product their.

      But that's the thing - Metro is not a product, it is a design language. In any event, the Metro retail outlets seem to sit OK with the Paris Metro so I don't see an issue here really.

    With all the trouble Mozilla are trying to cause in the EU over not being allowed a desktop app on WOA tablets, I don't think it's really in Microsofts interests to start pissing the EU off more.

    Well, that sucks... I've got a bundle of "metrosexual" jokes ready to go here, now what do I do with them?

    How 'bout 'Windows 8'

    How 'bout, just "The New Windows". Don't give it a number.

    Hope Apple don't have a patent for that naming convention too!

    Right now, if someone researches Windows 8 Metro on google, you're gonna get a lot of bad comments about it. Microsoft PR probably saw this, then wanted to find another name that hasn't had it's name dragged through the mud.

    For tablet users, call it 'Surface'
    For Keyboard/Mouse users, call it 'Awkward'

      For keyboard/mouse users, call it 'Do Not Want'

    Call it Tiles. Panels. Squares. Quadra. Now pay me royalties for coming up with it.

    Oh the headaches, they should just call it "PAIN"sorry "PANE ".

    What about RETRO. MSDOS had a better interface!

    I seen a Mazda 121 Metro cruising around the other day. I thought it was a supermarket and asked the driver for some oranges only to be turned away. I think someone needs to sue Mazda.

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