Whats in a name? The fate of "Metro"

Brent Schooley / Friday, August 3, 2012

Update:  It's "Microsoft design style".

I recently kicked off a post series entitled "Metro Design Series" which is going to cover a wide gamut of topics on Windows 8 and Windows Phone design.  Unfortunately, it looks like I'm probably going to have to give these posts a new title.  A tipster provided The Verge with a copy of an internal memo that indicates Microsoft will be rebranding "Metro" and telling employees to refer to apps as "Windows 8 style UI".  I previously commented about the awkward use of the term "Windows 8 Style Apps" during the unveiling of Office 2013 Preview on July 12.  Mary Jo Foley states that the reason for the name change appears to be due to a copyright dispute with a company named Metro AG in Germany, although this has not been confirmed.

Microsoft's Metro statement

What now?

Where do we go from here?  Well, it seems we're in a bit of a waiting pattern.  It is very clear at this point that Microsoft will be replacing "Metro" with something.  What will the new name be? I'm not sure but the best proposal I've seen so far has been "Modern UI" which I commented on here.  As I stated there, I believe "Modern UI" would be an interesting throwback to the Modern design movement (or Bauhaus) which was one of the inspirations for the Metro design language in the first place.  It's pretty easy to draw a parallel to the goals of the Modern design movement and the goals of the Metro design language.  Both aim to get us to stop hiding our design behind embellishments and frills and let the content of the design stand out clearly.  

What will Microsoft rename "Metro"?  Hopefully we'll find out soon.  I'm very interested in your thoughts on this topic.  Please comment below or find me on Twitter @brentschooley.