[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times Aug. 20, 2012.]
For months, Microsoft has been touting a distinctive, tile-based user interface that’s front-and-center in the designs of its upcoming product releases, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. But now, Microsoft has put the kibosh on its “Metro” moniker.
Tech publication Ars Technica reported that Microsoft’s legal-affairs department sent out an internal memo earlier this month to that effect, noting German retailer Metro AG had talked of legal action, claiming trademark infringement.
Metro AG — one of the world’s largest retail groups, especially prominent in Europe where it has electronic retail stores — declined to comment.
Microsoft issued a statement earlier this month, saying: “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.”
Recent Microsoft releases have referred to a new, “modern” design, and news reports have speculated it may simply come to be called “Windows 8” style.
And that’s led to confusion on several fronts, especially as Microsoft is encouraging developers to create apps for Windows 8, which was released to manufacturers Aug. 1 and will be hitting store shelves Oct. 26.
[Continue reading the story here.]
(Image of Windows 8 Start screen featuring user interface formerly known as “Metro” from Microsoft.)