Microsoft has racked its collective brains to come up with a replacement name for what it had formerly called its Metro user interface, and after much deliberation, its new moniker will reportedly be ... Windows 8.
Veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley was the first to report the name change, citing unnamed industry sources plus some brand-new marketing materials from Windows OEMs, including Lenovo, that appear to use the new term.
The switch should help quell some of the confusion Microsoft caused last Friday when it declared that it was dropping the word "Metro" from its vocabulary, after having repeated it almost incessantly since the first details of Windows 8 were announced.
Microsoft has tried to spin the change by claiming that Metro had only been a code name used by developers all along, and that it had never intended to use the term with the general public. But rumor has it that Redmond was forced to make the change when it failed to come to terms with giant German retailer Metro Group, which owns the Metro trademark.
If Foley's information is correct, under Microsoft's new naming scheme, any previous instance of the word "Metro" will henceforth be replaced with the phrase "Windows 8." So what was once the Metro user interface is now the Windows 8 user interface.
Similarly, the blocky, touch-friendly apps that run in the Windows 8 Start Menu, which had previously been known as Metro-style apps, will now be called Windows 8 apps.
More traditional Windows applications – the kind that allow multiple windows and use all kinds of not-Windows-8 UI controls, including drop-down menus, palettes, dialog boxes, and so on – will apparently now be referred to as "desktop apps."
Even the Windows Phone UI, which was where the name Metro first appeared to describe Redmond's new design sense, will be known as a Windows 8-style UI going forward.
Who's on first?
While we here are El Reg's California colony appreciate the clarification, we can't help but think it could potentially lead to some highly frustrating conversations between software vendors and their customers. Imagine if you will the following exchange:
"Hi, we'd like you to try Mimeograph CX 7, the latest version of our award-winning professional image editing application."
"The new version, eh? So it's a Windows 8 app?"
"It comes with a Windows 8 app. I can show you that if you want, but you can't use all of the features with it."
"You're kidding! The newest version doesn't have all of the features?"
"Of course it does. It has all of the old features and more. They just don't all work with the Windows 8 UI."
"But my PC came with Windows 8. You mean I have to go back to Windows 7?"
"No, the new version runs on Windows 8. But you can't access all of the features from the Windows 8 app."
"You mean I have to keep using the old version?"
"No, you definitely want the new version. But it's not a Windows 8 app, it's a desktop app."
"But I use a notebook."
And ... scene. ®