Microsoft forced to kill off ‘Metro’ name due to trademark infringement

“Before you get too excited: No, the Start Screen is still there — but due to a trademark claim by Metro AG, a massive Eurasian retail chain, Microsoft can no longer call it the Metro Start Screen, and those bold, preschooler cubist apps can no longer be called Metro-style apps,” Sebastian Anthony reports for ExtremeTech.

“Metro AG operates supermarkets, department stores, and — here’s the kicker — consumer electronics stores across Europe and Asia.,” Anthony reports. “Microsoft has issued an internal memo requiring employees to refer to Metro as ‘Windows 8 style UI’ — temporarily, anyway. Developers are being asked to use the phrase ‘New User Interface.’ As for why Metro AG waited until now to complain to Microsoft’s legal team… who knows. The internal memo states that the changes are occurring because of ‘discussions with an important European partner,’ but that’s it.”

Anthony reports, “Curiously, despite a ton of marketing dollars and column inches being plowed into Metro, Microsoft is down-playing the change: ‘We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines,’ a Microsoft spokesperson says. ‘As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names.’ This smells a bit fishy, considering Windows Phone 7 — with its Metro-style UI — has been on the market for two years. If Microsoft had planned to give Metro a “commercial name,” it would’ve already done so by now. Microsoft is expected to announce a replacement name for Metro before the weekend.”

MacDailyNews Take: Confusing the Windows sufferers even more. We like their strategy. We like it a lot.

We hereby nominate: “A Bunch of Silly Tiles Trying to Hide a Raging Case of AppLack™,” although that name might be a bit too concise for Microsoft’s “taste.”

Related articles:
Ballmer: Uh, yeah, ‘Surface is just a design point,’ you know – July 10, 2012
Microsoft’s Buffoon, er… Ballmer throws down gauntlet against Apple – July 10, 2012
Microsoft reportedly dumps ‘VaporMg’ chassis, will use ‘VaporMg’ only as ‘surface treatment’ – July 9, 2012
Microsoft’s downfall: Inside the executive e-mails and cannibalistic culture that fueled Microsoft’s lost decade – July 7, 2012
HP said to dump Microsoft over Surface; to cozy up to Google Android for tablet efforts – July 2, 2012
Bad news for Microsoft’s iPad killer? – July 2, 2012
Dear Microsoft, Steve Balmer and Bill Gates: What is up with your obsession with keyboards? – June 28, 2012
Jason Schwarz: Top 10 reasons why Microsoft’s Surface is DOA – June 22, 2012
Why I love Microsoft’s vaporware Surface tablet – June 22, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet said to be Wi-Fi only at launch; no 4G, no 3G, no 2G, not even 1G – June 22, 2012
Microsoft outsources Surface assembly to Pegatron; prices above $799 for Windows 8, above $599 for Windows RT expected – June 21, 2012
Acer founder: Microsoft will quit making tablets soon – June 21, 2012
Devastating video shows Microsoft’s Surface event aping Steve Jobs’ iPad unveiling (with video) – June 20, 2012
Thanks to Apple, Microsoft is doomed in the era of mobile computing – June 20, 2012
Why wouldn’t Microsoft let anyone touch its Surface tablets’ keyboard cover? – June 20, 2012
The cost of Microsoft’s Surface tablets – June 20, 2012
Apple’s revolutionary iPad vs. Microsoft’s anti-tablet ‘Surface’ – June 20, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablets provokes ‘sense of betrayal’ among Windows PC assemblers – June 20, 2012
Fox News: Copier Microsoft is doomed to fail with Surface tablet – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet destined to be as successful as the Zune – June 19, 2012
Surface: Why Microsoft’s big mystery turns out to be a big mistake – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Suicide, er… ‘Surface’ – June 19, 2012
ZDNet Sr. Tech Editor Perlow: Microsoft’s Surface has catastrophe written all over it – June 19, 2012
Microsoft previews own ‘Surface’ tablet – June 18, 2012
Microsoft touts ‘major’ June 18 event said to showcase Windows RT tablets – June 15, 2012
ZDNet’s Kingsley-Hughes: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is an awful, horrible, painful design disaster – June 8, 2012
Analyst meets with big computer maker, finds ‘general lack of enthusiasm’ for Windows 8 – June 8, 2012
Dvorak: Windows 8 an unmitigated disaster; unusable and annoying; it makes your teeth itch – June 3, 2012
The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience – March 5, 2012
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011

47 Comments

    1. Great idea, MDN and billyjackblack; start a fun “nominate an alternative name” contest. OK, here’s mine:

      ” rel=”nofollow”>Gaudi tile (as in the architect, Gaudi, of Barcelona). My wife went there and admired some of his work.

      1. ‘TupidTiles? TurdyTiles? Cube Readable User Device = CRUD? There is also the Metro in Paris so perhaps we can use Le Pew instead? UI-Clutter? Confusatiles? Geofarts? Unimaginaboxes? ProKi (productivity killers)? Fuglies? ExpungeSteve Square Supplants?

    1. ‘Windows 8 style UI’ – yeah, that just rolls of the tongue.

      You know someone will contract it in writing to “W8 UI. The question is, is that pronounced “wait” or “weight”?

  1. I always thought Metro was a strange name. Like the company fell in love with the code name, and no one had the guts to stop and develop a real name for it.

    Apple’s great at that (besides the cat names for OS versions, which are hard to wrap in a single, relevant name), Apple always takes the time to have their marketing team think it through and come up with one of those brilliant but obvious-once-you’ve-seen-it names.

  2. I’d suggest “The Windows style UI formerly known as Metro, but now called something else” but it’s probably too short of a name for MS. They would also need some weird made-up symbol to represent it.

    1. Where did they get “Windows?” In the user manual which came with my 1987 Mac SE, the most frequently used word, outside of common articles and prepositions, is “window” or “windows.” Then, as now with Google and Samsung along with Microsoft, all they can think to do is steal from Apple.

  3. Windows Dressing
    Windows Peep Show
    Windows Blinds
    Windows Price is Right
    Windows Family Feud (Show me Potato Salad)
    Windows Pane (pronouced Pain)
    Windows Gooey

    I could go on and on…

    1. shhh, flyingcactus, shhh. don’t upset the Apple fan-bots. They think everything Apple does is perfect, and everything MS does must inherently be evil or inept. Repeat endlessly until the biased narrative sinks in.

      Too bad the real world isn’t so simple, cut & dried.

      Apple IS far better at many things than MS, but this isn’t one of them.

      1. There’s nothing evil or inept about changing a product name. At least both Bonjour and Rendezvous were related to what the technology did.

        Metro just reminds me of the term metrosexual which must describe you pretty well, seeing as you are a nerd-troll.

        1. @ twilightmoon: in your dreams, junior.

          your term-association exercise reveals more about your juvenile behaviour than anything else. but if you want to play that game, i am glad to see that my “trolling” caught a nerd, as you describe yourself in your own post. now back to your time-wasting video gaming, kid.

        2. Really? Just how deep must you go to dredge up a reference to “metrosexual?” I sincerely believe that 90% of the people who hear the term “metro” think first of the Paris Metro (or some other well-known urban transit system) and let it go at that.

          Please don’t make ad hominem attacks just because you don’t like a person’s comment. There was absolutely nothing in his post to indicate “metrosexuality” or “nerd-trollism.”

          Sheesh.

    2. Difference?

      bonjour is a small feature which most users aren’t even aware off..

      Metro is a MAJOR PLATFORM INITIATIVE and the WINDOWS OS IS MICROSOFT’S LARGEST MONEY EARNER.

      How many effort did apple spend promoting rendezvous vs how much effort msft has done with metro? Ballmer, his execs, his engineers, Pr people have been touting Metro, giving interviews, tech previews, demos etc for months. In the Pc press like Zdnet it’s been like HEADLINES Metro , metro, metro all the time now (ed Bott alone must have written 10 Metro related articles) …

      difference: one is small hiccup related to a minor feature, the other a pie in the face for their BIGGEST PRODUCT and LAUNCH IN YEARS.

    1. Frankly Apple could use some polish on it’s GUI’s as well. Maybe a little more maturity in the design but then again maybe not? Anything is better than Android.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.