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Microsoft Drops 'Metro' Name For Windows 8 UI 356

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-rose-by-any-other-name-would-look-as-blocky dept.
hawkinspeter writes "The BBC is reporting that Microsoft is dropping the 'Metro' name for the new Windows 8 UI. Apparently, the catchy new name they've settled on is 'Windows 8 style UI!' This has happened due to a (potential) trademark dispute with Metro AG, a German retail giant. Microsoft said, '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.' I'm wondering if Microsoft planned this to get publicity for their new OS and UI or whether they just forget to check on how 'Metro' is used around the world."
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Microsoft Drops 'Metro' Name For Windows 8 UI

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  • Sadly... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Megaweapon (25185) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:47AM (#40866723) Homepage

    the chose to use Bing to check. Shoulda used Google!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:47AM (#40866725)

    Did Ballmer come up with it himself?

    • Actually, he throws chairs against the wall until inspiration comes, but this time he had too few chairs.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:48AM (#40866729)

    Me for stuff I work on I give my products Latin Code Names for the product. That give me time to get the product done and working well before I can come up with a more creative or marketing friendly name.

    The code name Metro doesn't really tell us anything, it is just a place holder name to work on your project... Mainly because all your code is placed in a folder with a name and in a project with a name.

  • Next up... (Score:5, Funny)

    by hackula (2596247) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:49AM (#40866743)
    M$ set to release the all new Ford Tablet, the Walmart Phone 9, and the Trader Joe's Web Application Framework!
  • by sinij (911942) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:53AM (#40866781) Journal
    I have better UI name in mind... Windows Start UI
  • isn't it ridiculous? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:55AM (#40866795) Homepage Journal

    just look up metro on google

    a bunch of transit authorities use the word, there's metroPCS, some library consortium, a few other government entities, etc.

    clearly, the word is common and abstract enough that anyone can claim it's usage

    trademark law, copyright law, intellectual property: it is such an absurd, useless pox on civilization. i foresee and fervently hope that history will write of this century about how the whole concept of intellectual property law became abolished. it's such useless wasteful, lawyer mongering nonsense by trolls

    we really need to just lose the entire concept of intellectual property from our societies. it is utterly destructive to the free flow of culture and ideas and does NOT do what it purports to do: protect creators. no, it empowers litigious rent-seeking parasites. so much wasted money energy and time

    • clearly, the word is common and abstract enough that anyone can claim it's usage

      Exactly. Usually, no trademark issues are raised when the two companies' activities are so different.
      My guess in that case is that the German Metro wanted to avoid a splash of bad notoriety in case Windows 8 is a flop.

      • by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:17AM (#40867035)
        I'd guess that over the last year there has been a huge amount of bad press from tech forms and publications where authors have written about how much they hate metro. Changing the name is MS way of re-branding the UI and getting away from the bad press.

        The same sort of thing happened with vista, there was a ton of press on the OS when it went by it's "code name" Longhorn before it was released, a lot of the press was pretty bad. So MS changed the name to Vista just before the release to re-brand it at the last minute and confuse the public. It's the equivalent to "Oh! I read this really terrible review about Longhorn, I'm not putting that on my machine. What's this? Vista! Well I haven't read anything bad about that I'll give it a try!"
      • no one would make the connection

        do i avoid the Subway sandwich chain if there is a subway crash in New York? how about avoiding Target the retailer because the USA missed the archery target in the Olympics. how about avoiding Sears the retailer because the local paper wrote that it is so hot outside it is searing. can Subway sue the NYC transit authority? can Target sue the Olympics? Can Sears sue the local paper?

        ridiculous nonsense

        German Metro has no moral leg to stand on

        yes, they have a legal leg to stand

      • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday August 03, 2012 @11:11AM (#40868329)

        My guess is that Microsoft is using it as an excuse to yank the Metro name, in line with the old theory that changing the name gets rid of the bad connotations.

    • by rbrausse (1319883)

      I could be related to the German company Metro AG (Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]) - they are _very_ aggressive with trademarks (including killing a fan-site for the rapid transit-type of Metro).

      One of the Nice Classes Metro AG owns the trademark for METRO is 9, the classification includes "data processing equipment, computers; computer software". afaik the company has no claims in this specific part of the Nice Classification, but as a big retailer (and business partner for MS) they had probably the way and means to convince M

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        Do German trademark laws have a "use it or lose it" policy like the U.S.? Or are they going to rush to market with computer software just to keep the name theirs?

      • by arth1 (260657)

        I could be related to the German company Metro AG (Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]) - they are _very_ aggressive with trademarks (including killing a fan-site for the rapid transit-type of Metro).

        This is one speculation. Another is that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer attorneys have rattled their sabres. See, they are in the entertainment industry, and Microsoft tries with Windows 8 to make a platform built for and marketed to the YouTube(TM) generation.

        Yes, "Metro" is a generic term, but Microsoft would likely have had the same problem if they called it "Universal", "Paramount" or "Apple". Because some generic terms have a specific meaning within specific industries.

      • They don't need to so long as they defend the trademark they have been awarded. As a large retailer they could start selling own-branded computers in a few weeks if they wanted to. They registered it, they paid for it, it is a well known brand...they just can't use it for building underground railways.
    • by Bigby (659157)

      I don't see how "Metro" would be violation of trademark. If Metro AG is a retail store, then they are fundamentally different than a software company. Either Microsoft never considered using "Metro" to describe their UI (unsurprisingly this story is made up) or Metro AG does something in software.

      I can start a company that installs windows on homes and call it Windows. The names just have to no be in the same industry.

    • What I don't understand is that Metro AG has nothing to do with operating system software, so why is Microsoft so afraid? There is absolutely no way of mistaking one for the other, they're not even in related markets let alone in the same one. Sure, a lawsuit would cost both parties some money, but it's totally clear-cut from where I sit that Microsoft would prevail, so changing the name now when people are already accustomed to calling it "Metro" just to please Metro AG seems terribly short-sighted.

      • Metro also used to be an ISP in the nineties. They sort of rebranded it after it failed and then it merged with AOL.

    • So? Just stick MS in front of it, like MSWord for a word processor, MSDOS for a disk operating system, or MSWindows for a window based gui: MSMetro.
    • by dkf (304284)

      just look up metro on google

      a bunch of transit authorities use the word, there's metroPCS, some library consortium, a few other government entities, etc.

      clearly, the word is common and abstract enough that anyone can claim it's usage

      None of which would stop MS from using it as the name of their GUI system. More problematic is the fact that there's no chance of MS shifting anyone currently using a metro.tld website to something else; there's a lot of strong existing trademarks sitting there that would make any attempt to use legal mechanisms impractical and buying them all out very expensive.

      Easier to just change the name to more closely identify with a different trademark; after all, only a limited number of developers know the UI by i

      • yes, and it is easier to just to hold up your hands and exit your own car and leave the keys in the ignition when a gun is stuck in your face at a stop light

        not that this situation is right, and not that a litigious troll should be allowed to claim "metro"

    • trademark law, copyright law, intellectual property: it is such an absurd, useless pox on civilization.

      Despite corporations seeing it as "property" it has a useful purpose, to keep the consumer from getting ripped off. Otherwise, you could by an expensive Snap-On tool, only to find out it's a cheap pot metal knock-off legally using the Snap-On name. The way it is now, Snap-On will go after the offender in order to protect its name, which protects us, the consumer.

  • " 'Windows 8 style UI!'

    Come on, there has to be a better alternative....

  • by cerberusss (660701) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:56AM (#40866807) Homepage Journal

    Apparently, the catchy new name they've settled on is 'Windows 8 style UI'

    Well, it was either that, or "Microsoft Office Live Style UI Media Center Edition for Windows Genuine Advantage".

    • Unfortunately not, that name was already trademarked by the German firm of "Microsoft Office Live Style UI Media Center Edition for Windows Genuine Advantage and Company"
      • "Microsoft Office Live Style UI Media Center Edition for Windows Genuine Advantage and Company GmbH"

        Fixed that for you.

  • by Ynot_82 (1023749)

    Will the Windows 8 Style UI be available on my Windows Phone Series 7, or will I have to wait for the Windows Phone Series 8 to get the new Windows 8 Style UI.

    Also, will any sea-shells, woodchucks or pickled peppers be included?

  • by orzetto (545509) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:03AM (#40866877)

    They have not settled on this name, this is a temporary form to address what was known as Metro until a new name is been found, probably because there is an impending lawsuit in the works.

    From TFA:

    The Windows team is "working on a replacement term" according to the memo, "and plans to land on that by the end of this week." Until then, employees have been advised to refer to the Metro style user interface as the "Windows 8 style UI.

  • According to the article,

    The Windows team is "working on a replacement term" according to the memo, "and plans to land on that by the end of this week." Until then, employees have been advised to refer to the Metro style user interface as the "Windows 8 style UI."

    So "windows 8 style UI" is just a temporary name while the look for a new one.

  • I thought trademark name clashes were a non-issue if they are completely unrelated entities, such as retail giant and UI system. Otherwise, you'd think we would be running out of names pretty soon.

    A quick Google search on Windows 7 UI system "Aero" reveals eight different companies or products using that name, on the first page.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Another poster claimed that Metro AG actually also got a trademark of the class that includes computer software. No idea if they are using it or if Germany has a "use it or lose it" stance on trademark as in the US.

    • by N0Man74 (1620447)

      I thought trademark name clashes were a non-issue if they are completely unrelated entities

      I think that's true in theory, but not always in practice. I've heard about people winning trademark cases that I thought were absolutely absurd, where there was no connection in the industries involved. Also, not everyone can afford to go to court over a frivolous trademark claim, and sometimes people will back down to avoid the legal costs or take the chance that the court will decide against them.

      Just because the supposed intent of the law is one thing, doesn't mean it doesn't mean that the application

    • I thought trademark name clashes were a non-issue if they are completely unrelated entities...

      MetroAG sells computers, thus the conflict.

  • The real reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:05AM (#40866907)

    I don't believe that this is the real reason Microsoft is changing the branding. If they thought it was valuable enough to keep, they would fight for it. But among tech-savvy users, Metro has become a punchline and a negative brand, just like Vista. I smell another Mojave [betanews.com] coming up.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      I agree. I mean, when the iPhone came out, Cisco already had a trademark and a product called iPhone (same capitalization and all).

  • This search seems to tell a different story: http://www.google.com/?q=site%3Amicrosoft.com+metro

    793,000 results.

    Will take them a few days to clean that up.

  • A couple of classics from Microsoft's marketing department:

    "Windows 8 Style UI" doesn't quite have the catchiness that Metro and Cocoa [apple.com] do, not to mention how old applications using this will sound in Windows 9...

  • by pegasustonans (589396) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:18AM (#40867047)

    Here are some other alternatives:

    HiggledyPiggledy 2.0

    Hunt and Poke: Home Edition

    Explosive Nostril Overlayer

    Thumbgasm

  • It's an excuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tridus (79566) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:24AM (#40867113) Homepage

    They've been calling it Metro for quite a while, including on all that stuff put out about Windows Phone 7. You know WP7, that phone OS of theirs that's in production. If codenames really don't stick around once its in production, then how do they explain that?

    The truth here is that Windows 8 has been poorly received, and Metro is the reason why. Too many people hate it on the desktop. In an attempt to change the conversation they're going to change the name and hope that the negative buzz doesn't carry over.

  • as much as i promote M$, i wont be using Windows 8.
  • by assertation (1255714) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:40AM (#40867271)

    Windows is the operating system of just about EVERYBODY. Including people who may be conservative and even provincial. My guess is that a marketing person at Microsoft finally got heard and they decided to lose the name "Metro" after learning it was too urban and possibly "gay" aka "threatening" for some folks.

  • Windows ate style UI.
  • by eulernet (1132389) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:52AM (#40867397)

    In Paris, the Metro is the transportation's network, and by extension the name of the stations and of the trains.

    The stations smell like piss, with beggars and tramps everywhere (and yes, I'm french).
    Once there is a small problem on a line, all the traffic is slowed down.
    The trains almost always are late, especially when the weather is hot.

    Finally, the parisians always try to force their way in the train, even though it's full.

    Why they chose this name is beyond me !

  • by Maow (620678) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:52AM (#40867409) Journal

    I just haven't been able to see a difference between Vista & Windows 7, yet one is reviled and one is revered.

    So, changing the name and nothing else may be a good move - people seem guilible.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:37AM (#40867947)

    My guess is that the demand for compensation came in from someone's attorneys to Microsoft's headquarters and Microsoft jumped at the excuse political opportunity to change the name. Backed by Metro being hard to trademark as it's used by municipalities worldwide for mass transit and the name change was a shoe in from the legal side.

    Marketing had a problem in that Metro already had a god awful reputation in the market. Enterprises won't touch Windows 8 because Microsoft forces the Metro interface as the default interface. They are simply trying to soften the blow of forcing the world to use the Metro interface by default whether they want to or not.

    Think about it, they are betting one of the worlds largest companies on an interface that is universally loathed if your not on a tablet. This may well be the largest bet in history.

  • No, they're not (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jim Hall (2985) on Friday August 03, 2012 @11:24AM (#40868483) Homepage

    > Apparently, the catchy new name they've settled on is 'Windows 8 style UI'

    I'm no Microsoft fan, but TFS is wrong. Both linked articles aren't that long, so it's not hard to find what they've actually said. Microsoft has dropped "Metro" and is looking for a new name. Until they figure out a new name, they have asked developers to stop referring to the interface as "Metro" and use "Windows 8 style UI" instead. But the point is, Microsoft has not settled on this as a new name.

    From the BBC article:

    Instead of Metro, Microsoft has told developers to simply refer to the blocky display as a "Windows 8 style UI" for the time being.

    From the Verge article:

    Until then, employees have been advised to refer to the Metro style user interface as the "Windows 8 style UI."

  • "trademark dispute with Metro AG, a German retail giant."

    And they're just a retailer, not a software and hardware company, so there would be no real confusion to any half-assed consumer.

    Therefore there is no trademark dispute. Microsoft is avoiding this lawsuit even though they're in the right, for once.

    I wonder why they'd avoid this?

  • by quacking duck (607555) on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:20PM (#40870909)

    "Windows 8 style UI"

    shall become known as "Wait-style UI" or "Weight-style UI"

  • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:46PM (#40874549)

    Someone has already thought to use the name Metro for a company who would have thought?

    Seriously though there is a crap load of "Metro" companies that I know of:

    LA Metro (among others)
    Metro PCS
    Metro a grocery chain in Toronto area
    Metro in Germany
    Metro (a collection of urban newspapers in Canada (and probably elsewhere))

    I realise the law is ridiculous but it seems silly that you could get sued for a name of feature of a product because someone's regional company has the same name. I'm pretty sure someone has a company named Windows.

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