Windows Phone fans are well familiar with Metro, the term Microsoft’s used to describe the design adopted for the user interface for Windows Phone 7, and which will be coming to the forefront with the retail launch of Windows 8. As that release nears, Microsoft has reportedly been starting an effort to discourage use of the term Metro any longer. Just what is Microsoft up to?
Microsoft insiders have revealed that over the past few days, the company has been putting a new focus on getting both its employees and people outside the company to stop referring to Metro as such. There was some speculation that this might be due to new copyright concerns, possibly related to the Germany-based Metro Group. Microsoft has since responded to these allegations to some extent, confirming that it’s been discouraging the use of Metro but denying that the move is related to any legal action.
When pressed to elaborate, Microsoft explained:
“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.”
That’s a logical enough explanation, but it’s a bit of a surprise to everyone involved that Metro was such an unofficial designation, apparently not meant for public consumption. We knew Metro started out as a code name, but in the years since then, there’s been no indication from Microsoft that we’d ever be calling it anything else.
None of this changes how Windows 8 nor Windows Phone 8 will look, but it’s still quite the unusual development, and it seems that even with Microsoft confirming what it has, there’s still more to this story that’s yet to come to light.