Microsoft ditches Metro... in name only

Metro Start screen

Tile-based design rebranded after complaints from European company

Microsoft is to ditch the Metro brand from Windows 8 and other platforms following a trademark infringement complaint.

Metro – Microsoft's codename for the tile-based interface used in Windows Phone 7 and the upcoming Windows 8 - will be rebranded, according to internal emails seen by The Verge.

Although the name change won't affect the design of the software, it is a marketing complication, with apps developed for Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 long referred to as Metro-style apps.

Microsoft, however, played down the issue by suggesting a name change was always likely.

We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines

"We have used Metro style as a codename during the product development cycle across many of our product lines," Microsoft said in a statement.

"As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialogue to a broad consumer dialogue we will use our commercial names."

Developers and staff have been told to stop using "Metro" to describe the interface, instead using the less catchy "New User Interface" to describe the colourful tiled view in its operating systems.

Neither Microsoft nor the German retail company believed to be behind the complaint – Metro AG – has commented officially on the reason for the name change, but an internal email seen by The Verge confirms the company is in "discussions with an important European partner".

Germany's Metro is the fifth biggest retailer in the world and Microsoft employees have been told they must adhere to the Metro ban immediately.

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