In response to...
"...Microsoft executives are racking their brains for a new word to sum up the controversial user interface..." I'd like to suggest
PAIN 4 Windows 8
Mine's the one with the broken glass in teh pocket...
Microsoft has dropped "Metro", the name given to the squaretastic user interface for Windows 8 and Windows Phone, claiming it was just a code name all along. Litigation, though, may be the real reason as it seems the word may be owned by a European company or individual that objected to its use. The change comes late in the …
How about "Oh Hai" as in "Oh Hai! I iz a cellphone now LOL!" which is pretty much win 8 in a nutshell. I swear if i didn't know better i'd think the whole thing was an Onion style parody, but sadly others like Canonical have adopted the "Oh Hai" interface as well. It seems like Jobs last laugh is gonna be making every UI designer lose their minds and try to make everything into a damned cell phone like some cargo cult praying for the ghost of Jobs to bring them some iMoney.
Of course they could always go with metrosexual, its about as tasteless as metrosexual fashion and the guys up in Redmond wouldn't know what it meant anyway, they'd just be happy they could keep the original work by tacking sexual onto the end. Besides who don't like sex?
From reports elsewhere, it appears it is a German cash & carry outfit that are complaining about it.
The French borrowed the name for their underground railway from the District and Metropolitan Railway in London, which was often shortened to the Met or Metro. It became more frequently known as "The Tube" some time after they added actual tube tunnels to the network. The Geordies call their underground network "The Tyne and Wear Metro"
As pointed out elsewhere there is also a 1980s car made by the British Leyland Group with that name.
"From reports elsewhere, it appears it is a German cash & carry outfit that are complaining about it."
But surely trademarks have to be in the same area? I.e. you can have Apple the music label and Apple the computer maker, because they're not (at the time, anyway) overlapping. How can a "cash & carry" (that means a shop, btw?) be overlapping with a O/S GUI?
No. Much as I dislike Apple, it wasn't unreasonable. At the time of the agreement, the "Music business" consisted solely of selling overpriced vinyl and tat in order to keep Colombians in business. By the time Apple added the "sosume" sound to the Mac, computers were handling music and it would have crippled them not to be able to enter that business. Computerised music was not the music business in force at the time of the agreement.
I would agree that American conservatives believe that the Constitution written by a group of pre-industrial white slave-owning oligarchs is valid word for word for all time, but I submit that Conservatives in the US are so stupid that that in itself is an argument against rigid interpretation of old documents. (The other one is American religious conservatives who, if possible, are even more stupid...but I digress).
Metro is a worldwide wholesale & retail company with a turnover of about 60 Billion € (2011), and the largest reseller of Microsoft software in Europe (Media Market, Saturn). With about 250.000 employees a little bit larger than Microsoft, and certainly with some good lawyers.
"Or Windows Leyland"
Entirely appropriate! Cars whose appalling build quality single-handedly destroyed the British car industry.
In Australia, Leyland produced a catastrophe called the P76 - so incredibly ugly and so atrociously built - even by Leyland standards - that it became Australia's answer to the Ford Edsel.
So I suggest Windows P76.
I guess Australia never got the Allegro, the first car to have a square (well 'quartic') steering wheel.
Clearly the Allegro design team have been working hard since then and the Win8 UI is their latest masterpiece so - WIndows Allegro
I'll bloody sue if they do.....
Excuse me! It wasn't only the appalling build quality; it was also the crappy design, both mechanical and aesthetic. The engine and transmission of the Marina were so over-complicated that maintenance on a small, cheap car cost more than it did on a 3.5 litre Rover.
I guess it might be libellous to mistakenly posit any resemblance whatsoever to Microsoft products. Though I do like Azure.
Scarily bad compared to the opposition.
Poor front suspension, cart spring rear suspension
Bigger engines are BLs duff designs.
I much prefered the Avenger in that market place, good suspension, great seats, tough well designed 1600 pushrod lump with 8 port head and well oversquare.
Back to where RIM was with the BBx(*) trademark...
For Win8 -- Should have been code-named "Squarepants", and released as "Spongebob" for all I know.
(*) A trademark owned by Basis International.
"Spongebob Squarepants" is a tradmark of Viacom via Nickleodeon brand also owned by Viacom. Trademarke referred to and Used under Fair Use provisions for this comment.
I can help them rename this. They want something that summarizes the Design Language Formerly Known as Metro.... The BBC article on this says the previous name was picked because it is "modern and clean"... We can work with that.
It's also tied to their operating systems, we want people to know that.
So, I say the new name should be....
I maintain that if they're looking for a name that is:
- in keeping with their corporate branding and colours
- reflects the structured, grid-like appearance
- also reflects the way that the public feel about their products
then surely the only possible names they can consider is "Blue Waffle"?
Metro was a nice, catchy name. Not checking for trademarks and coming to some agreement with others holding that trademark before naming the fscking software is just... unprofessional.
I'm really curios if MS has been more careful with checking for other trademarks and patents in Windows 8 or if the thing will be shot down within a week.
"Metro" IS not a nice catchy name....
It fucking sucks... like a battery converted shopping trolly becomes a green electric eco friendly car kind of sucks.
It's like being 14 and finding someone has put a hand full of sand in your jar of Vaseline....
It's just fucking TRAGIC - that's that the name "Metro" is...
Copyrighting that name? Metro has always been used as an abreviation of Metropolis.... and spewed forth as a trendy conjunctive like Metrosexual or something...
Or as descripitive terms for "city" type transport..... "The Met"
Quick a new name and an catchy abbreviation for it.... I know - "People Over Xs" or POX for short.
Hmm back to the sandy Vaseline....
"Not checking for trademarks and coming to some agreement with others holding that trademark before naming the fscking software is just... unprofessional."
Now don't be mean here. MS had promised this company a /free/ copy of WIn8, its not their fault that this company doesn't want anything to do with it.
Don't laugh, but I had an "All-aggro" way back in the 80s, and it was a very comfortable, (hydrogas suspension) nippy, (I had the 1.6) car. The slightly squared off, or was that rounded square? steering wheel was actually fine to use. (Mine was leather too.)
It did use about half a gallon of oil every week, and obviously smoked like a trooper, but good while it lasted... :o)
Agreed about Leyland cars generally though. They really were shit.
AC, for obvious reasons!
Or have the MS stories on the Reg's forums become a self selecting group of MS haters, who round on and shout down anyone who says anything perceived as pro MS? Thus the people who actually like anything MS, increasingly don't bother commenting.
(Oh yeah, and any comment calling this behavior out is usually followed by a rather weak "I'd like them if they just did X or Y", which usually comes from someone with a history of ill informed shouting down.)
It's not just the forums, it's the Reg itself. Anything MS does or says - cook up some astoundingly negative, over-the-top spin - and immediately tell the world how it's totally ignorant and evil. If that sounds familiar, think "Fox News".
As someone who spent decades as a Windows developer, I have no love for Microsoft as a company, but this blindlngly one-sided, totally predictable coverage simply loses my interest. Couldn't we hear some other voices?
The simple answer is if they can't use the "Metro"name any is to simply remove the "Metro" interface from Windows 8 completely.
That would make Everybody happy :-)
Especially MS shareholders, OEMs, Resellers, Developers, Valve, Enterprises, and of course the poor forgotten end users ;-)
Took them til now?
Every time someone mentioned Metro I had visions of a hearing aid beige rusting MiniMetro.
Almost as bad as the germanic overlords of Mini, when searching for a name for the large Mini they almost went for Maxi, until someone from the UK pointed out it's previous incarnation....
My suggestion for a new name - Program Manager. But then that's maybe giving it glory it doesn't deserve.
How about a name giving an "everyman" feeling to the UI? Informal yet familiar. How about "BOB"?
The sad thing about these comments, reflecting almost unanimous dislike of the Metro UI is that Redmond just don't care. Just as with the infamous ribbon, Redmond knows best and the only choice we get is the one (Redmond) size fits all.
And as for User configurability that's all gone too, because Redmond knows better than users what they want.
So what was the "standard" Windows UI called? Nothing. It had no name. Or maybe, according to a lot of posters here, we should call it "XP" and demand that it remain unchanged until the end of time.
Whatever name is formally assigned to the Windows 8 UI, I already like, and am already using it, and all the verbal venom still being directed at it is just a lot of incomprehensible noise to me. Really, it you can't grasp it in minutes of experimentation, consider going into another line of work.
I "grasped it" fine - it's just shit. It's an absolutely pointless and pathetic thing to put on a desktop PC.
As a simple example of its pathetic nature they've taken off the start menu button to replace it with a blank space. So they've saved zero space and now you have piss around hovering over the corner (very annoying in VMs and RDP) instead for _no reason_. Similar goes for the stupid fills-the-screen start menu -- you gain absolutely nothing at the expense of covering your entire desktop when you want to look for an application.
There are absolutely no gains in usability on the desktop and there is no need for metro to be on the desktop apart from MS's mistaken belief that doing so will help sell their tablets.
The live tiles are in the completely wrong place. If I need active information updates, I want these in my workspace, where I might actually see the information of interest. Not mixed in with hundreds of other icons in my program launcher. Window 7 gadgets, Android widgets pretty much do this correctly, desktop or mobile. Room for improvement in either , perhaps. But Microsoft's approach completely fails for any but very casual users with just a few apps on a tablet or phone.
By the amount of whining on here, I reckon the average age of a Register reader is, well, old.
You're the same bunch that said the Olympics would be crap too, aren't you.
This really isn't a troll BTW, I'm serious.
Lighten up you luddites, this rag used to have a sense of humour, now it's almost an endless snoozefest of cliched and predictable criticisms mixed with low-brow flamebaiting, neither of which constitutes anything close to humour.
I think I'm starting to understand the vitriolic hatred of Windows 8 on display here.
The sad fact is that most of the truly creative people - who like things that are new and different, and are appreciative of visual design - long ago went to Apple and aren't coming back. Today's Windows user base contains a whole lot of cranky IT people to whom any significant change in the OS just means more work and more problems - to them, there's no upside. These are the guys who are going ballistic because the Start button has changed.
I think it's unfortunate that this narrow point of view - which to me is just one big buzz kill - seems to have become the de facto position of the Register itself. But, in the end, the Reg's constituency is IT, not people from other walks of life.
The challenge to MS is to win back the creative people. The GUI formerly known as Metro is a good start.
I don't believe the rejection of the Windows 8 UI, particularly on the desktop, has anything to do with users having no interest in an improved UI. But rather, the failure of the Windows 8 UI, period. It's just bad. It trades tiny motor for large motor activity on the desktop. It eliminates program heirarchies, making it all flat. It removes Windowed applications, at least in the new interface. It takes away very efficient modes of working, and replaces them with clumsiness. Change does not always mean positive evolution.
Contrast this with Apple's changes. They are taking ideas from the iOS environment into MacOS, but actually innovating. They're add multi touch in ways useful to users with mice or touch pad interfaces, they don't imagine a desktop PC with 2-3 screens as being controlled in the same way as a 10" tablet or 4" phone as positive change.
No one else dies, either.
I think we are the same bunch that said that the commercialisation of the Olympics would be crap and that it would lose money. Both those objections seem to be borne out.
What I like about the Olympics is that the British winners are mostly in minority sports and don't make significant money out of it. Every time a pair of women PhD students gets a gold medal for rowing I feel warm and happy inside because it's so quintessentially English.
Whereas everything that American megacorps touch, whether it is Apple, Microsoft, Macdonalds or General Motors, seems to turn into mud that doesn't justify the enormous sums spent.
MUTS? MUST? TUMS? SMUT?
None of those really work.
Metro is a supermarket chain in Canada. I doubt they sued, though.
I was so looking forward to being labelled a Metrosexual when I fell in love with Win8's 4-bit colour squares and touch screen interface on my 27" monitor. But then my arms got tired. Damn you Saint Jobs, you were right again!
Right up until the day the bonnet latch broke while I was driving at 60 up a country road. Luckily it was a straight bit of road and I managed to drive in a straight line as I braked, I looked out the window seeing nothing but the entire bonnet propped against the front window and rattling in the wind, I thought to myself, I've got to get myself a new fucking car. I get the feeling that if I buy Windows 8 I will just need to change the word car for OS.
As for a new name for Metro, that's easy. you just need to take inspiration from the car...... Shite.
The biggest problem is making the damned thing mandatory. Sure, some people will love it; some commenters are already defending it. There's no reason they shouldn't like it....except when they go on to claim the naysayers must stupid if they can't figure it out.
Nope. We're not stupid. We simply don't WANT to use it. We see no real benefit in it, aesthetically or as part of a tool intended to get things done.
Nor do we want to support the fast or slow retraining of end users and waste millions of work hours for no good reason. And let's not even go into the incompatibility with existing software and hardware that has become the norm with every new Windows version, costing the end user more wasted time and money.
How hard would it be for Microsoft to offer a "The-Interface-Formerly-Known-As-Metro" option for those who love it, and leave the same old consistent, everyone knows it already, Start Menu/Toolbar/Desktop for everyone else? Particularly corporations?
Who are, by the way, in huge numbers still using Windows XP. (Haven't any of you checked in with, oh, maybe a large U.S. health service or hospital lately? They can't afford patients dying because of a tiny incompatibility with Vista discovered a bit too late...say, while the doctor is performing surgery).
I'm not a Microsoft hater....but I am fed up with them spending more and more time trying to "compete" in areas where they are playing catch up, instead of seriously digging in and giving us the kind of OS they used to be capable of.
Sorry, MS, my customers are in droves sticking with XP, the ones who got new computers with Vista or Windows 7 in the majority don't like it in comparison (some loathe it). The ones who never used Windows before, not so much of a problem, because they mostly only use it for web browsing, word processing, etc., online email, and they assume the little quirks they encounter are normal.
But older users, especially the businesses I support? Most of them are asking WHY they need to upgrade when all it means is frustration and expense? I'm trying to get them to give 7 a chance-how sad that is.
The home users go on about how they particularly hate Mail, not being able to set up separate users like they did in Outlook Express, and major gripes about windows constantly Snapping to full screen (until I show them how to turn that off - not real easy for your average user to find, you know? And why the hell would you make that the default anyway?)
Maybe you scoff at those as small things, but MS, you aren't getting the point: Those small bits of frustration add up after a while - a ribbon here, an over-simplified search interface there, another change in terminology - is it Shut Down? Turn Off? Are they the same? What happened to My Documents?
Every minute of productive time a user loses, while they wrestle, however briefly, with something different that didn't need to be changed - that seems to have been changed solely for the sake of change, or "hipness", or a marketing team's suggestion, or to be more like a competitor (why?) - builds up.
Lose enough minutes, and you've lost an hour. Lose an hour of time you intended to spend on a task, because the tool you use to accomplish it was redesigned and no longer comfortable or familiar...well, an hour is a lot of time to lose if you're on a deadline, or have promised to be at your daughter's baseball game.
It doesn't take much before another Windows user snaps....and asks me about getting a Mac. Or about, "that Linux thing".
Congratulations, Redmond. Your own OS is becoming the best free advertising there is for other platforms. Daddy Bill must be so proud.
I wonder if they thought be "unnaming" the worst aspect of Windows 8 they would make it harder to criticize. If you say "Metro is a poor UI for desktops" people know exactly what you mean. If you say "The Windows 8 style UI is not good for a desktop", it just sounds like "I don't like Windows 8".
Please note the acronym for The Interface Formerly Known As Metro, read backward, is MAKFIT, so I vote for calling it the MAK interface.
Second choice would be dogs, of course, in keeping with other OS's animal motifs. Perhaps:
Microsoft Poodle - The First Non-Shedding Windows. No More OS Allergies!
This whole debacle with Microsoft dropping the name "Metro" for their "Live Tile"-based user-interfaces at this extremely late stage in the game is absolutely bizarre. As another poster here already mentioned, the "Metro" name for Microsoft's tile-based UI is anything but new. The Microsoft "Metro" name has been around for six years now, and was used in conjunction with the user-interfaces for Zune and Windows Media Center long before it was ever used to describe the user-interfaces for Windows Phone 7, XBOX 360, and Windows 8. That sets quite a precedent for Microsoft using the "Metro" name to uniquely identify a product in commerce, so you would think that it would give them a very strong case to claim that the Metro trademark when used to describe a software product was theirs.
To explain to the best of my understanding (as I am not a lawyer), in the U.S. at least, for a company to be able to keep a trademark they need to essentially do three things:
1. Use the mark to uniquely identify a product or the source of a product in commerce (this is where a trademark registration can come in handy, as it provides a solid verifiable record of a mark's use in commerce).
2. Make sure that a mark is not likely to cause confusion with another mark that is in use.
3. Actively use and protect the mark.
The German retail company Metro AG has threatened legal action against Microsoft probably under the grounds of point #2 above-- that Microsoft using the "Metro" name would cause confusion, brand name weakening, or other such damage to Metro AG's trademark. I find this argument to be very odd on two grounds: First of all, Microsoft and Metro AG are in different industries. I don't think very many people out there are going to confuse Microsoft's Windows Phone/ Windows 8 user-interface with products from a German retail company. "Metro" has already been used as a mark to identify lots of companies and products previously, such as vehicles built by General Motors, Austin, and General Harvester, an airplane built by Fairchild, several different store chains in several countries, and various newspapers, magazines, and television networks around the world. Up until this point all of those trademarks were considered non-confusing and distinct to one another, and they all more-or-less happily co-existed. With that in mind, I could potentially see Metro AG going after another retail store such as the Metro supermarket chain in Greece because both Metro AG's "Metro Cash and Carry" stores and the Metro supermarket chain both operate within the country of Greece, but Metro AG being confused with the Windows 8 "Metro" user-interface? That is really a stretch.
Secondly (under U.S. Trademark law at least), a company has to actively protect its trademarks to be able to keep them. That means that if another company starts selling a competing product with a confusingly similar mark you need to threaten or sue that competitor into stopping as soon as you can. If you don't and you allow the competitor's product to get established in the market under that confusingly similar mark, you will lose your ability to protect your mark against that competitor's mark. In other words, if you snooze you lose. I would argue that Microsoft would also have a case here, since they have been using the Metro mark to identify their tile-based UI since at least 2006. If Metro AG had a problem with Microsoft using the name, they should have threatened Microsoft with legal action about it four or five years ago-- not now. The genie's already out of the bottle at this point, and the association of the "Metro" name with Microsoft's tile-based UI is already extremely ubiquitous. I am shocked that Microsoft didn't open up their deep pockets and launch their massive war-fleet of IP lawyers to rain all hell upon Metro AG because of this point-- they seem to have a decent case supporting them. However, that is not what has happened, and Microsoft is suddenly back-peddling with its tail between its legs.
What the heck has just happened? What makes Metro AG's case so terrifyingly strong to Microsoft? Now, I do understand that a country's Trademark laws and protections only apply to that particular country. That is why Apple was able to secure the "iPad" mark in many parts of the world, but still had some major trademark battles on their hands in the countries where the mark was already being used for similar products, such as in China. I am only familiar with U.S. trademark law, so maybe German trademark law has some fundamental differences in it that stacks the deck far in the favor of Metro AG? Is there anyone here who is familiar with German trademark law that could comment on this? In any case, I am truly amazed that a company as vast, wealthy, and powerful as Microsoft didn't either pay Metro AG to be able to use the mark, or put Metro AG through a pitched legal battle to fight for the use the mark, especially considering how much this effects Microsoft's flagship Windows product right as it is being released to manufacturers. There must be much more to this story, and I would be very interested to learn it.
Lots of people, you included, get confused with the "Metro AG is a cash&carry shop" thing.
They aren't. They started as a cash&carry shop, but nowadays they are the fifth-biggest retailer in the world, and own, besides cash&carry and grocery chains, consumer electronic chains. That's why they likely would have standing.
"Microsoft executives are racking their brains for a new word to sum up the controversial user interface."
Something not too dissimilar to "Metro", yet one that reflects Microsoft style, brand quality, and technical achievement...?
Let's hear it for... MERDE!
Amazing to me that Microsoft could be one of the most successful and valuable companies on the planet and yet in one fell swoop (Windows 8): fail to do any market research, completely fail on the design of their product, not pay any attention to what consumers or business wants in an O/S, miss the mark entirely on the direction of user interface and produce software that is slow, buggy and full of security holes all while spending tons of time and millions of dollars on development. Stunning!
Or maybe the people posting comments here are a bunch of uninformed morons who will bash anything Microsoft does regardless of the good reviews, excellent performance benchmarks and glowing reports from security experts on Windows 8. Hmm, which scenario is more likely? I mean really, as much as you would all like to see them fail do you really believe everything you are saying? Or just going for cheap laughs?
The interface may be fine and dandy for touch screen and tablet, but we are a way off ubiquity for office workers wandwering around with a tablet and headset in a corporate environment. take Housing management, or transport, they are just getting to grips with virtualisation and Windows 7, having loads of legacy apps that have 16 bit code that Win 7 won't run. The wannabee execs no doubt prance around with tablets, but in that market the fanbois want I-Pad, not a borked Windows tablet.
Back to the penguin and Xubuntu, at least you can customise it it's quick, and hasn't got the Linux equivalent of Metro, Unity.
Seriously, El Reg should make a poll to ask users what would be the best interface name to substitute Metro.
The prize could be... A BlackBerry Playbook Tablet! Or just some kudos. Or perhaps a ride in a future LOHAN launch, to send the reader's ashes into orbit... once the reader dies, if El Reg and LOHAN are still around, disclaimers abound.
If you are uninventive, you could get a Windows RT tablet for the reader once it becomes available. Or a future-yet-unnanounced Nokia Lumia sporting Windows Phone 8.
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