With Microsoft facing a trademark claim over use of the word "Metro," it is busy eliminating all mention of the word in reference to the user interface for Windows 8. As if the story weren't strange enough already, it got quite a bit weirder this week.
In an update to the "Naming your app" instructions, Microsoft now tells developers "Make sure your app name doesn't include the word metro. Apps with a name that includes the word metro will fail certification and won't be listed in the Windows Store." (Hat tip to the Marked Up blog for discovering the change). Since the company Metro AG has apparently accused Microsoft of infringing its trademarks, the change in language is not unexpected in one of those puzzling, legalistic sorts of ways.
But Microsoft hasn't succeeded in throwing Metro down the memory hole entirely just yet—not even close. The very page that tells developers of the new naming restriction is actually titled "Dev Center - Metro style apps," at least as of publication time. And going to the main Dev Center page brought up this unavoidable Metro style reference:
At least one developer using the word "Metro" in his app's title is complaining. The Windows Phone marketplace also has some Metro-named third-party software. Microsoft, of course, is free to impose just about any rule it wants on submissions to its app store. But the Windows 8 app certification requirements actually don't mention anything about developers not violating third-party trademarks. The requirements do, however, use the word Metro 12 times to describe the style of applications developers must build and the APIs they must use to build them.
Of course, the Windows 8 app certification requirements haven't been updated since July 9 (as of this writing). The Metro trademark problems didn't surface publicly until this month. Presumably, Metro will be given a proper burial by Microsoft once and for all at some point, but the company sure is taking its time and being inconsistent in its quest to kill it off.