Windows 8 Metro GUI Trademark Blunder: Big Deal or Small Detail?
Windows 8 is alive but Metro (the name for its graphical user interface) is dead. Microsoft apparently had to abandon the Metro name because of a trademark dispute. Some media pundits believe the Metro naming blunder is a huge setback for Microsoft. But let’s be honest: The average PC buyer has never heard of Metro. And most CIOs won’t be making rapid moves to Windows 8, so there’s time for Microsoft to get its branding right. Or is there?
Windows 8 is set to ship Oct. 26. You can bet Microsoft will need to rewrite a lot of documentation to eliminate all the Metro chatter. As Paul Thurrott’s widely read blog points out:
“Windows 8, of course, is an odd beast. It has two operating environments, the traditional desktop, with its Win32-based applications and services, and the new “Metro” environment, with its new Metro-style apps and experiences. I put Metro in quotes there because this is what I call this environment: Microsoft refuses to call it anything, and after pressing for several long and difficult minutes during a briefing earlier this year, one of the architects behind it finally told me, exasperated, “It’s just Windows. It’s nothing else. Just Windows.”
What does The VAR Guy think? There’s an easy solution here. Instead of creating a big new brand name, Microsoft should keep it simple. Just call the two user interfaces Windows 8 Modern and Windows 8 Classic.
Side note: Microsoft’s branding goofs are cause for concern at some level. From OCS (Office Communications Server) to BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), Microsoft keeps coming up with confusing names only to finally rebrand around simplified approaches (Lync, Office 365). The branding problems date back to Windows NT. More than a decade ago, Northern Telecom (NT) objected each time Microsoft referred to Windows NT by only the “NT” moniker.
Fast forward to the present. Can Microsoft find a suitable replacement for Metro? The VAR Guy is waiting…