The story that wasn't. Microsoft is not banning apps with Metro in their name.

One of the bigger stories to catch fire today was the idea that Microsoft were to start denying Windows 8 app certification to developers who use ‘Metro’ in their app's name. 

The story originated from documentation found on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) that was quite crystal clear on the matter stating such apps will “…fail certification and won't be listed in the Windows Store”.

That wording has now been removed.

We are now getting confirmation through various channels that the wording found today in that documentation had not been added recently, meaning there has been no change in policy. Instead what we are looking at is documentation that had not been updated to reflect the official Windows 8 app certification requirements.

Yup, it was in error.

Certainly an honest mistake that even we took to be truth. But upon doing some digging, the assumption that Microsoft will begin to ban apps that have Metro in their title has turned out to be unfounded as is the extension of that assumption that a ban would also apply to Windows Phone apps. 

As of right now, there is no news here.

As a bit of an editorial, we will say that this Metro-situation is a bit of a mess and official guidance from Microsoft on exactly what is their present policy on the matter would be welcomed. Currently it is not clear if Metro is okay to be used, if Microsoft will be removing past references for it in documentation or what people should use to refer to it instead. Such uncertainty is what is leading to speculation and assumptions on tech sites and it needs to end.

We’re sharing some of these complaints with Microsoft to hopefully get some more answers.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • They should just pay MetroAG to let Microsoft to use metro in ads.
  • Or take them to court over their ridiculous claim to a relatively common word.
  • It's a German company. Stereotype requires that they have a giant stick up their butt about, well, just about everything. :P Unfortunate that they are living up to it. Honestly, they should have been flattered -- Metro is one of the better things to come out of Microsoft in the last decade.
  • So they should potentially pay millions for a name that us freely in use by other companies? Sounds like extortion and MS rightfully walked away,
  • For once, we agree on something. This is a ridiculous method of extorting money from a company that actually makes something people care about by a company that is grasping at straws. There's no potential for market confusion or weaking or theft, and therefore the claim is absurd.
  • Agreed.  This whole fiasco is crap.
  • No, they should just BUY MetroAG.
  • From what I've gathered German courts can be very strict when protecting national trademarks, so the outcome would likely have been a situation where MS would be required to remove the Metro reference on all products sold in Germany. So, even if they could continue using it in the rest of the world it would mean a lot more work than changing the gmail name to googlemail on their services in Germany.
  • i don't understand it either, at Metro AG is a food supplier for restaurants and companies. They are in a completely different business, there is no way anybody could get confused. I never thought about them when MS called their UI Metro.
    Interestingly they had no problem with the game Metro 2033.
  • They are also in the home electronics business, do you know Media Markt? Media Markt is currently wiping most competitors in Europe, and yeah MetroAG they own it.
  • I think the main reason MetroAG is even making an issue about it is because Microsoft is a huge company. The royalties that they'd be paid if Microsoft were to agree would fund this company grossly and I don't think Microsoft cares enough to go to Court. We as WP fans Love the term Metro, but I know the term isn't common knowledge and most people have never associated it with Microsoft's UI. That's because it's not popular enough as a mobile platform yet (and I think that's going to change soon) I think it's a smart move to just drop it and not give this company pointless funding or crush them. That's bad PR. I just hope the new name will catch on as soon as Windows Phone gets bigger.
  • I think it more than just Metro AG. I think that there just the excuse that MS is using and it much bigger
  • +1
  • Sorry, I just have to do this...
    HA HA, stoo-piiid! =]~)
    Jk. ;D
  • And we were all blaming Microsoft...sorry Microsoft, we still love you ;-)
  • This is out of discussion :)
    The more we hate the more we love ;)
  • I can't quit you, Metro.
  • It really isn't a big deal, why can't we get over it?
  • Because people need something to complain about, duh! :P But seriously, it's one of those matter of principle things. This is purely a case of extortion if it's a patent claim. Microsoft was using it for years now with Zune and Windows Phone, and suddenly it's an issue? Absurd.
  • Metro metro metro metro
  • haha, such a troll. :)
  • Daniel, Im usually right there with you, but in this case there is no way MS can take a stance. My believe is that they would LOVE for the community to keep calling it Metro, and that this continue for so long that AG breaks. MS lawyers would never green light an MS stance on the use of Metro because they could later be held accountable for it. So, the only Thing they could do is say don't use it.
  • Either I wasn't clear in my post (quite possible) or you misunderstood me ;-) By "take a stance" (actually, I think I said offer guidance) I mean for Microsoft to come out and say that they're moving away from 'Metro' and are now using 'X' term instead. In addition, we plan to change this, this this and developers should do 'Y." That's all I mean, not that they should ignore their lawyers just be more transparent on the matter and offer guidance on what developers should  be doing.
  • Why not simply used the name Metropolitan? Then when we users abbreviate it to metro, MS have deniability and we get to use our middle fingers. :-)
  • I'm sure there is a lawyer'y  answer to why they cant as I thought the same.
  • It's a bit cheeky of you to cover your arse with an 'editorial' when the initial story was bullshit. If you checked your facts as a proper journalist would then you would not have misreported what was going on.
  • In the initial article we specifically mentioned how we DID reach out to Microsoft and were waiting for them to get us a response. It's not about investigating, it's about dealing with Microsoft PR which can be a bureaucratic nightmare where you often get non-answers.  Also Ars Technia, Engadget, The Verge, Seattle Times, Electronista and other major publications ran the same story, even after we ran this correction. (Let me know if they run second stories to correct theirs). We could have simply ignored the follow up instead of getting smartass, unhelpful comments from yourself, thank you. And for the record, I have never called myself a journalist.
  • When I hear Metro I think metrosexual or Metro (Washington DC). Metro AG.... WTF?!?!? Who would ever think of that?
  • Metro means "meter" in all Latin languages too
  • Everything Windows is changing it's style to what was formerly known as "Metro", and I think MS wants Windows to simply be Windows; and so do I. The Windows UI has changed and in Win8 we have Touch-mode and Desktop-mode, simple as that. Forget metro, it's simply Windows.