Changing names again: ‘Metro’ becomes ‘Windows’

Woody Leonhard

An obscure notice that ‘Metro apps’ are now ‘Windows apps’ leaves more than a few Windows observers confused.

Microsoft has a long history of bungled product branding, but its latest decision plumbs new depths.

How not to announce a major branding change

Microsoft recently announced a significant change in the terminology for programs that run under Windows 8 and 10. You and I, our co-workers, our friends and family, even passers-by on the street will soon be asking whether our Windows computer can run Windows apps — and/or Windows desktop applications. As is all too common with Microsoft branding, the answer is far more complex than it should be.

You’d expect such a major change to be announced with explosive fanfare, dancing office-worker ads, a Super Bowl spot — and a lot of education for the beleaguered customer base.

You would be wrong!

Instead, the announcement was buried in a presentation by Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Don Box in a one-hour WinHEC (the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) presentation in Shenzhen, China. You can see the full presentation on Microsoft’s Channel 9.

The presentation was a discussion of drivers for hardware developers. But eight minutes into the talk, Box shows some interesting terminology. A slide (Figure 1) clearly explains the differences between Windows 10 for PCs, Windows 10 for phones, Windows 10 on Xbox (it’s true), and Windows for the so-called Internet of Things (a term I intensely dislike): refrigerators, toasters, Raspberry Pi devices, and so forth.

Win10 versions chart

Figure 1. At last, we have an official Microsoft chart that gives some names to the different Windows 10 flavors.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2015-04-02:

Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.