After the unofficial ban on the word Vista, Microsoft has a new word to avoid in its internals and official communications — “Metro”.
Microsoft Renaming Metro Interface
Looks like Microsoft might have run in to some legal troubles over the name Metro. Ever since Windows Phone 7 was launched, Microsoft has used the word Metro to refer to the new user interface introduced in that mobile OS. The interface received strongly positive critical feedback and most people who use it really like it for its simplicity, innovation and the plain stark difference form the icon driven interfaces of the iOS and Android. Many have heralded it as the interface look of the future — bold, minimal, light on resources and highly effective.
Now for some unknown reason/s, Microsoft has begun distancing itself from the name ‘Metro’. This has been the name in use long after Windows 7. It is the name that has been constantly used to refer to the new interface on Windows 8. It has been used to describe the apps that are going to be developed for Windows 8. It has been used to describe the new found flatness in other parts of Microsoft’s software platforms. So Microsoft’s official line on the issue saying it was only ever a codename, is somewhat hard to swallow.
But then, the company won’t really come out and say that they used a name without taking care of the legal complications first. Microsoft has been slowing down the use of the term internally and is likely heading for a complete separation from the term in the near future.
Word on the streets is that there’s something/someone fighting over the name with Microsoft and hence the distancing from the name. There’s no information on who/what has been causing Microsoft to give up on the name. Tech news site ZDNet reached out for an official statement and received a statement that said the changes are not coming due to some sort of litigation. Here’s what the spokesperson added: –
“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 dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names.”
There’s always the possibility that Microsoft is self-consciously distancing itself from the over used “Metro” and “Metro-Style” terms to avoid user confusion and to avoid diluting the Windows brand itself. Over branding with a sub brand can be quite counter-productive for a product trying to get off the ground here.