Microsoft is axing the name for the user interface that will come with its Windows 8 release, The Verge has exclusively learned. An internal memo sent to Microsoft employees has revealed that the company will no longer use the term Metro with its next operating system.
The message to Microsoft workers says that "discussions with an important European partner" has fueled the decision to discontinue the Metro branding for Windows 8 and other devices put out by the company. Microsoft has yet to announce a replacement for its former Metro term, but the Windows team is currently working on brainstorming a new name. The memo indicates that this should come soon, saying that Microsoft "plans to land on that by the end of this week." Temporarily, the Windows 8 layout will be referred to as the "Windows 8 style UI." This message was circulated to Microsoft staff earlier in the week, so there could be an unveiling to come by the weekend.
This is somewhat of a shock, as Microsoft has been referring to its cleaner, mobile-centric tiled Metro interface for quite some time. However, Windows geeks shouldn't be too worried, as this doesn't mean anything in the actual operating system will be altered. The reason behind the switch involves a dispute between Microsoft and German retailer AG, who has threated to take legal action against the company for infringing on its "Metro" trademark, Tech Crunch reported.
The company insists that "Metro" was always intended to be used as a code name, and was not meant to be a large part of the Windows 8 commercial face.
"We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines," a Microsoft spokesperson said to Venture Beat. "As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names."
However, this doesn't seem too plausible, since the company has been promoting its Metro branding since Windows Phone 7 launched in 2010, and has yet to select a new title for the Windows 8 UI. Judging by the description of Metro on Microsoft's official website, it doesn't seem as if the company intended for the name to be internal.
"When given the chance for a fresh start, the Windows Phone design team drew from many sources of inspiration to determine the guiding principles for the next generation phone interface. Sources included Swiss influenced print and packaging with its emphasis on simplicity, way-finding graphics found in transportation hubs and other Microsoft software such as Zune, Office Labs, and games with a strong focus on motion and content over chrome."
In the midst of Microsoft's rebranding for the Windows 8 UI, a final copy of the RTM leaked to the Internet on Thursday. Identified as the Windows 8 Enterprise N, the N signifying that it is aimed at European users, the file surfaced on several BitTorrent file-sharing websites.
Initially, it was unclear whether or not the leak was legitimate. However, as Computer World reports, evidence surfaced that it could be the real deal.
"Legitimate. It works. Looks real," one commenter posted on a file-sharing website.
The copy is an English-language version of Windows 8 RTM, but the file-sharing sites indicate that it is non-booting. This means that pirates must create installation media.
This isn't the first time that leaks of upcoming Windows releases have surfaced on the web. Before Windows 7 launched, pirated copies appeared all over the Internet, from the "alpha" version meant only for developers to the Windows 7 Release Candidate.
The Windows 8 release date is set for Oct. 26, with a standard and Pro edition launching for users.