Microsoft: It was never 'Metro,' it was always 'Modern UI'

A bit of search and replace should sort this out


After another long night at the whiteboard, the deep thinkers at Microsoft's marketing department have come up with a new replacement for the verboten word "Metro."

From now on, it seems, the blocky, touch-centric user interface of Windows 8's new Start Menu will be known as the "Modern UI." Apps written to take advantage of the new UI features will be known as "Modern UI-style apps."

On Thursday it emerged that Microsoft was planning to use the term "Windows 8" to replace Metro in consumer marketing materials. The "Modern UI" term appears to be intended for developers who plan to build software based on Redmond's new design principles.

Redmond watchers at The Verge were the first to spot that Microsoft employees had begun using the new branding in listings for upcoming developer training events. For example, one program entitled "Engaging Citizens with Engaging Design" purports to "examine the Modern UI design language from a developer's point of view."

Microsoft seems so eager to get its brand messaging in order that it has employed some rather hasty search and replacing, resulting in one panel with the boggling title, "Building a Windows 8 Modern UI-style UI."

Digging further, Microsoft's search and replace gremlins appear to already be at work on some of its other websites. In one post to the Microsoft Answers site, a questioner asks why none of the main Metro apps are working. Microsoft forum moderator Wael Helwe replies with an answer that references "modern UI" throughout – dated March 2, 2012.

Other pages still seem to use a mix of the "Modern UI" and "Metro" branding.

Whether this bit of revisionist history helps to clear up customer confusion is another matter, since the phrase "modern UI," in and of itself, is a fairly generic term.

"Composition with yellow, red, black, blue, and grey" by Piet Mondrian (1920)

Early example of a modern UI, circa 1920.

Which leads your Reg hack to wonder: If Microsoft was forced to drop the name Metro because of a trademark dispute, as rumor has it, is the phrase "Modern UI" unique enough that Microsoft can trademark it? A search of the US Patent and Trademark Office database reveals nothing so far. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022