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Microsoft Ditching Brand Name Metro

Microsoft is dumping the term “Metro” to designate its latest Windows 8 interface.

According to its people from Redmond, they will no longer use Metro to call the interface of Windows 8 due to legal reasons although the term was claimed to be just a design code name before.

There were rumors a few weeks back that Microsoft was entangled with brand name issues with another European company called Metro Group over the said term. Microsoft reportedly did not want to resolve the issues.

While it appears simple to drop the label, the issue is more problematic than it sounds. A ripple effect of the name dropping reaches out device makers, developers, publishers, and any other entity involved with Microsoft’s new product Windows 8. All of them have to rewrite their documentation and apps including those caught using the word Metro. Obviously, the term Metro is now rendered obsolete and officially verboten.

Microsoft announced before that the word Metro was used for the design because its clean, modern, fast, and on the move. Now, the picture that Microsoft wanted to promote using the term is destined to be replaced.

Still questions remain why Microsoft would give up the name so easily. It is not the first time a big company like Microsoft come across issues over a brand name.

Initially, Apple also met trouble with Cisco Systems when it used the name iPhone but both companies were able to reach an agreement over the matter. Apple also ran into trouble with a Chinese company that claims iPad to be their invention. Apple settled the case by paying $60 million.

It is interesting to note how Microsoft ditched the idea of fighting for the brand name like what Apple did for the iPhone and the iPad. The term Metro is not even new. It was already associated with Windows Phone 7 to describe the “tile-based” interface on its operating system.

Microsoft does not comment on the issue at this time so experts and tech analysts have several theories over Metro legal issues.

One such theory thinks that Microsoft is maybe looking for an easy way out, or that it does not want to use the name anyway.

After the release of the few beta versions of Windows 8, the new operating system got mixed reviews from users. Many Windows users mentioned, especially those using laptops and desktops, that Windows 8 is more geared toward tablets than their current workstations. Others gripe that it is a blend of both desktop and tablet. Mainly, the target of many negative criticism centers on the Metro interface, with its limitations when running on PCs, and apparent lack of utilization of larger monitors. Generally, beta testers did not compliment Metro very well saying it is awkward to use on desktops.

Is this the reason why Microsoft is throwing away the name? Dumping the word is not an easy matter for Microsoft definitely but it’s still odd to think that such a billion-dollar company, with decades of experience in its field of expertise, would relinquish the name it touted  once as the greatest thing that happened on Windows.