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Microsoft's Metro design language to be renamed... Windows 8?

Metro Design Language

Prepare to say farewell to Metro UI

Rum'o'meter

Microsoft has decided to leave the 'Metro' branding for its new user interface on the battlefield with Metro AG and work on a fitting replacement. The European retailer has reportedly claimed the term "Metro" as trademark, which has led to the software giant looking at alternatives. According to ZDNet sources, Microsoft will be using 'Windows 8' instead. Metro is dead. Long live Windows 8, or so it seems.

We had a number of interesting suggestions from our readers (almost 500 comments on a previous article) who took a 15 minutes time-out to think up effective and ingenious replacements. There were some humorous ideas as well as plain awesome, but Windows 8 certainly wasn't at the top of the list by any means. We checked through all comments and even started up a poll for readers to vote for their favourite Metro replacement.

According to their sources, ZDNet relays guidance that anything currently known as a "Metro-Style application" will now be officially known as a "Windows 8 application," likewise with "Metro user interface" which will be replaced by "Windows 8 user interface." So how do you like using the Windows 8 interface on your Windows Phone?

As well as the rebranding, a promotion page for Lenovo's unveiled ThinkPad Tablet 2 shows an interesting entry. This leads us to believe either this is Lenovo using Windows 8 because the OS on the tablet is Windows 8, which keeps everything under the Windows umbrella, or Microsoft has began contacting OEMs with the news.

Lenovo Promotion Page

Desktop and Windows 8 apps would imply that Microsoft (or Lenovo in this case) is referring to Metro apps as Windows 8 apps themselves.

As is the case with Microsoft with further integration between platforms, consistency needs to be present, which is what we could see with Windows 8 being used for the new UI Microsoft has developed. The company has yet to release an official statement, as is the case with the Metro AG situation. We can expect to see a post on the Windows blog (at the very least) should all this be carried out.

What about Windows Phone? After all it was the mobile platform Microsoft used for its Metro / Windows 8 UI, which was a massive success should we take into account customer feedback and satisfaction levels. Well, it will now be the Windows 8 UI, but we'd of course keep our beloved "Windows Phone apps and games".

Windows 8 Design Language

Taking a long, hard think about Microsoft renaming Metro to Windows 8 leads us to the end of the path where we believe it makes sense. Windows 8 apps on the PC and tablet, Windows Phone apps on the smartphones, but all are running the Windows 8 UI. Pretty neat to leave the retro Windows UI behind in favour of Live Tiles, and this will be the way forward it seems.

What do you think about the possibility of Windows 8 UI replacing Metro? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: ZDNet

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Reader comments

Microsoft's Metro design language to be renamed... Windows 8?

130 Comments

How about "Windows Infinite ∞" "Windows Infinity ∞" or " Winfinity ∞"  you get the idea.  something to distinguish WP∞ and know you are talking about the phone. Slogan "Infinite possibilities"  They keep the 8 just on a different orientation.  Just saying...

I had an idea because Microsoft is in such a transition they should have gone with [delta] (the symbol) for all their naming..
Windows [Delta]
Windows Phone [Delta]
Windows Server [Delta]
Windows Asure [Delta]
Xbox [Delta] (next console)
Office [Delta]
etc...

it indicates a fresh start and has the advantage of not being a number so u get same naming for something like Windows v8 and Office v15 (instead of Windows 8 and Office 2013)

Windows 9 UI man that things going to kick w8 UI butt ....they can't call it w9 UI and have it look like w8 UI can they. ....

Yeah, sure. So the Zune and WP7 devices have been running the Windows 8 UI all along. Makes perfect sense O_o

That's my problem with this name. The design language had existed a lot longer than Windows 8. We have numerous devices and web properties using the Windows 8 UI before Windows 8? That doesn't make much sense.

And swiss design existed for dozens of years, but still 99% of people never heard or understood it and never will. And the same goes for Zune and WP7, with their marginal marketshare. And Metro is not a product or brand, it's just some esoteric idea. Windows 8 however will be the first metro-product for milions of people worldwide. The masses will associate the metro style with Windows 8, hence they will call it "windows 8 style" and MS won't be able to stop it. There's no use fighting it.

Yeah! Agree! However that might be confusing to some people... Also we must consider what will happen with the next iteration of Windows, or Windows Phone, etc... Would we still call it Windows 8 UI??? :)

This move actually is smarter than you think. When Windows 8 spreads, the general public will asociate the tiles look with it and say shit like "this looks like Windows 8" when looking at Xboxes and Phones. For once Microsoft decided to go with the flow even before the flow started - brilliant!

Works for me. Now if only they chose Windows 8 phone too to make things simple and easy for some consumers.

"Windows 8 Phone" doesn't make any sense. It would have to be called "Windows 8 Phone Edition" to have heads and tails, but that sounds rubbish and is false, since WP is not an edition of Windows. "Windows", "Windows Server" and "Windows Phone" are seperate products. Meanwhile the consumers will just say "that phone with Windows 8" and "the new Windows 8 style dashboard on xbox" anyway.

You are forgetting the main concept that MS designed Windows 8 first to work on the phone and has almost the same identical coding as the desktop version. Had MS kept the same name for all of their devices, people who use Windows (whether at work or home) desktop but have an iPhone/Android/BlackBerry and are not very tech savvy, would be more willing to get a Windows 8 Phone as there would barely be a difference. Seamless almost identical UI on both hardware. Only big difference (for now anyway) no Desktop option on the phone. Other than that they are identical with the Windows 8 UI (formally Metro UI). So that's my opinion as to why MS should call it Windows 8 Phone instead of Windows Phone 8. It's all in the name.

Windows 8 wasn't designed for phones but for Tablets and PCs. Windows Phone 8 is not Windows 8. Sharing kernel code does not make them equal, just like Windows Phone 7 is not Windows Mobile, though they both run on WinCE. Furthermore, not-tech people won't prefer "Windows 8 Phone" over "Windows Phone 8. They will be willing to buy whatever the media and android trollls all over the internet tell them to and they wouldn't even notice if the name changed overnight, as long as the word "windows" is somewhere in it. And if they did notice, and the name changed to "windows 8 phone" they might get confused that those phones can run Windows 8 apps and games which is just false. And last but not least, Windows Phone is an established name like Windows Server for a product being made by a seperate division at Microsoft.

You're thinking too much as an avid techy and not the regular non tech consumer. I've been in IT for 20 years at a firm with 300 employees who aren't too keen on technology and trust me when I say that if they call it Windows 8 Phone would make a hell of a lot more sense to them especially after they upgrade to Windows 8 on their laptops/PCs at home. Again, think as the regular consumer. You have to keep an open mind on that. Of course the new OS isn't identical per say on the phone as the desktop PC but it's pretty damn close. The make an app work from the dekstop to the phone is done with little to no effort. They even mentioned that their design point of view was from the phone to the PC. It's somewhere in the 2 hour presnetation when they first introduced the Surface and the how Windows 8 works on it.
Again, think about it:
"I have Windows 8 at home, would be a good idea to get the Windows 8 phone" compared to
"I have Windows 8 at home, would be a good idea to get a Window Phone 8"
Small twist of word but a HUGE difference. In my opinion, and I'm sure some people might agree, it rolls better. To the average tech consumer, it goes a loooooonnnggg way. Windows 8 phone, Windows 8 server, Windows 8 desktop. Windows 8 FTW!!!!

I dont see why they couldnt call it Windows 9 UI
If they decide to call the next windows os "Windows Zebra Stripes", i am sure the design label will be Windows Zebra Stripes UI. 
 

It's Mary Jo Foley who only writes on Microsoft. I think it's inappropriate here to call her out on integrity, she's a good reporter with a solid track record.

Wrong, if she wrote those win8 bash articles then she lost all her credibility. I didn't bother to click any of the articles because I don't want to give them hits.

I can read 3, so I win.. and ur a dumbass; learn to use your superior reading skills and read the author's name on each post..
mary jo is one of many znet reporters, but she exclusively covers microsoft (and is very fair in her coverage and often has good tips on upcoming releases). there are, however, other znet reporters who also post articles covering microsoft as well; though they tend to be less insightful and mostly total bs..

Looks like you didn't even read my post because if you did you would know that I don't click those headlines to give them hits. Therefore that makes you even more of a "dumbass" than I supposedly am.

She writes an opinion piece in Redmond magazine. She never has anything good to say about Microsoft. To suggest Microsoft would let her on to any information would be a huge stretch. Its always some unnamed source.

I dont understand this name. What about when Windows 8 turns to Windows 9? Will it still be Windows 9 featuring Windows 8 style OS? Microsoft has been on a role.lately, so ill let them slide for this one.

You're over thinking this. I'm gonna use Apple's example; they went from iOS 5 to iOS 6. No one protested that. Is Windows UI version 8 that's it. I'll take quality over a name any day. They need to focus on polishing this OS for release.

People making a big deal about nothing with this name. 
Essentally there is no more distinction between the WIndows 8 OS and Windows 8 UI design, it is now pretty much named one of the same. 
Unless you go to these techy sites, nobody even knows what metro is, so why would MS confuse the average consumer with a weirdo name to replace Metro. 
To me, their goal is to make it simple so windows 8 pretty much is used for the new OS and the design, they are now one of the same. 

I like that. It should've been called "Meth UI". Seriously, this design language naming didn't need trademarking. People will just call it "metro design".

no, WP9 will run WP7.5 apps, WP8 apps and WP9 apps. 
 
this name is used here in a product announcement for end users not developers/designers and it signifies the type of apps supported not the look & feel of these apps.
 
Microsoft didn't intend for the end users to use the name metro at all. it was used when teaching developers about the design language. bloggers started using it to describe everything (usually without understanding what metro ui even is, anything with squares is now metro to them)
 
Wait until the sesions for Build are announced, that will probably give away the naming for the design language itseld

So the UI that was created with Zune and refined on Windows Phone 7, before being transplanted to the Xbox and Windows 8 will be named Windows 8. Seems like the last one to the party gets the glory. :)

This isn't the name of a design language. The specs on a tablet won't refer to a design language. regular users don't care about a design language. 
This name lets users know they can run the new windows 8 apps on this device as well as the old desktop apps they run today. that's all it's meant to do

It's windows 8 apps because it's apps that run in the new windows 8 and not on the desktop. and these apps are only going to run on windows 8 (not WP8 or older windows versions).
Metro was never meant to be the name for these apps, it was the name given to the design language which bloggers decided to use for the apps and the whole experience as well.
the windows 8 name will probably replace metro only for the apps and won't be used to describe the design language when teaching developers how to create apps that fit the new design style.
If you look at microsoft win8 events, I'm starting to see them calling sessions 'how to design sexy UI' instead of 'metro UI'. we'll see where they end up on that.
Some would say that win8 app is a bad name because win9 will eventually be released. but we still don't know how that's going to work. we might see a shorter update cycle that keeps the win8 name. similar to mobile OS and OSX.
If win 9 is released on the same cycle windows had so far, that's three years from now, you'll probably have win9 apps and win8 apps will be considered legacy (like WP7.5 apps on WP8) 

I think you're missing the point. It doesn't matter what was intended or not, the word Metro in the context of Microsoft, their Apps and OS' became synonymous with a look and style in design. It was one word that could easily describe the design regardless of where it was applied and everybody got accustomed to it. It was easy to say this or that was Metro-fied and it worked for web, apps, OS be it server or workstation and Xbox. Saying "Microsoft website uses Windows 8 UI", "Windows Server 2012 uses the Windows 8 UI" , "System Center Operations Manager 2012 uses Windows 8 UI" just doesn't work.

I kinda remember Windows 95 UI Style and Windows 2000/XP UI style to be a thing when those major releases where introduced.

Best proposal - it can not be true that Metro AG owns all rights for all business segments. There are bands, radio stations, small companys out there calling 'metro', putting aside the fact that public transport systems are called 'metro'. Its a common abbreviation of urban areas, there should not be a monopolistic ownership.

I really dgaf about this one, "windows phone 7" would have worked just as well for the metro UI. Don't try to be like apple and give cutesy names to everything. Ionno why they went with mountain lion when they could have easily gone with cougar.

I was wondering the same thing... Will we say lame stuff like "Windows 9 has a nice Windows 8 interface"?...

Long live Metro!!

Nothing other than what happened when W7 came out after Vista, after XP, after W98, after 95, after W3,11... Even DOS has a running window in W8. Who cares, it has evolved to Windows with live tiles, which now is W8, later versions will incorporate new ways to access data, like Windows Kinnect instead of W9 and end up being called Windows 9!

That wouldn't make a difference either. people are just easily confused
lots of writers are already confused and keep saying  Nokia's next phone will run windows 8. I even saw someone wrote that since windows 8 will be released on 10/26, the fact that Nokia might release their phone in septmber gives them a big advantage. 
so maybe naming it Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8 Phone wouldn't make much of a difference.
Just like calling apps Windows 8 Apps has nothing to do with UI

They could have used Surface UI instead of Windows 8 at least when Windows 9 comes out it will be the same Surface UI.

So...my Windows Phone 7.5 phone has Windows 8? Outlook.com has Windows 8? Even Office 15 has Windows 8? Yeah...I'm going to have a very fun time explaining the Microsoft ecosystem to friends. 

I wonder if this is also a legal strategy on Microsoft's part...so that anything with a Metro-like interface is "technically" infringing the "Windows 8" trademark (whatever that is at this point, i.e. an operating system and now a design language).

They should name it as XUI. That's what they did with Xbox, as they did not know what to name that box. Actually, Xbox is the most successful one for MS in recent times. So XUI might be a hit

I find that made sense to me as well. Calling it windows 8 ui seems really lame. I wish they would stop with the renaming of services and products. Tends to confuse everything. I wish they would stick to something and just keep that going. Metro was fine little pissed it took 2 years for this company to complain. I dont see how Metro User interface. Had anything to do with their name.

MS drops the ball...though it really doesn't matter. You don't market a UI's name to the general public. Devs just know to make their apps resemble a certain aesthetic. Still stupid for us fans.

UI man that things going to kick w8 UI butt ....they can't call it w9 UI and have it look like w8 UI can they. ....

Were all their lawyers tied up going after Android makers for licensing agreements that they decided not to pursue this one in court?

Sounds like a stop-gap name to avoid a dispute until they think of a better one. Do they really need to trademark "Metro UI", when people just call it metro style UI.

It will be too hard to distinguish to consumers that "Windows 8" refers not only to the OS, but also to the design of the OS. And, as many have pointed out, they can't possibly rename the language every time a new desktop OS is released?

Just a thought, but it this a sign that Windows 9 may possibly perchance not use Met--I mean Windows 8 UI?

How about.. There is no "design language" (seriously when did you ever hear of a design language before metro anyway?)... Windows 8 simply refers to the UI

They were called Style Guidelines or Design Guidelines. IOS has had them for years, and Android definitely has one for ICS

Okay so Windows 8 style guidelines. Zune UI style guidelines.
Windows phone 7 style guidelines. What's the big hubbaloo?

Should of been called bananas. Naming scheme like how google calls theirs with dessert names. Microsoft could of used fruits. So started off with Apricot, Bananas, Cantaloupe. I'm a genius.Thank You!

My guess is Microsoft is playing it safe, it is too late in the game to go for an entirely new name because there is very little time to validate and avoid any possibility of future litigations.
I know it sucks big time, Microsoft should have been proactive, who knows there still might be last minute negotiations happening that we would not be aware of.
If Microsoft manages to get back the Metro name, that would be a huge win given all the publicity behind it.

They are being proactive. The common folk will start calling it "windows 8 ui" or "windows 8 style" anyway, it is inevitable. Making it officiall is actually very efficient for marketing. That's a perfectly good move if you think long enough about it. There's no reason to promote a codename for a design language, which doesn't mean anything for the customer.

 

Id have gone for 'dashboard', it complements 'desktop' it describes the feel of the UI (with live information) they're already using it with Xbox its shorter and in the longrun less confusing.

Either way, this debate is over. Win phone 8, is okay. Now MSFT, go out there and knock out the competition, you have to claw back more customers.

...After many hours/days brainstorming... They came up w/ Windows 8 UI??? ...The great thing about MS is, they're Geeks... The bad thing about MS, they're Geeks! Smh!

I understand how it would be frustrating to deal with it from Metro AG's point of view... Microsoft could share some advertising with them or make them an offer they can't refuse..

The whole Metro AG lawsuit is merely a rumour. Microsoft said the decision to drop metro was made after consulting a European partner. It might have been a marketing agency, who explained to MS that promoting "metro design language" is pointless for a myriad of reasons, while sticking to the Windows brand brings profit.

Whatever they call it ... I am still gonna refer it as Metro UI because its TRUE roots lie in Zune UI and not the very new Windows 8 ... The live tiles belong to the WP7 inherently ...

Windows Phone 7.8 will run Windows 8 UI... My Xbox now runs Windows 8 UI... Zune and my HTC Mozart has been running on Windows 8 UI... Do you get excited with these statements?

Pretty soon you will be able to proudly say that your phone has been running Windows 8 UI for two years. Don't you appreciate how hip that makes you?

Calling it Windows 8 UI is Simply so uncool ... It takes away the simplicity factor of it Live tile design and makes the OS sound more complicated.

Microsoft, where are your balls? - Please, do this one damn thing right! (... and don't loose the track)

OMG, just heard this on Windows Weekly - BEST NAME EVER - "MX Style" - just like the onenote app for windows 8.
PLEASE TRADEMARK THAT NAME MICROSOFT!!!
 
 

If it can't be called Metro, then it should be called Surface. After all, what is the primary way of interaction, the SURFACE of the device. Just a dumbasses opinion.