Microsoft today made it official, saying that the replacement for the now-dead-and-buried "Metro" brand for apps on Windows is "Windows 8 Store."
In a session at the company's Build developer's conference, Will Tschumy, a principal user experience advisor, confirmed that the nomenclature "Windows 8 Store app" was Microsoft's preferred label for the tile-based, touch-first programs it's betting will fuel the success of Windows RT, and to a lesser extent, Windows 8.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Windows Store has enough apps to prevent Windows RT flop, say analysts. | Get ready for Windows 8 with the Windows 8 Deep Dive PDF special report, which explains the new direction for Windows, the Metro interface for tablet and desktop apps, the transition from Windows 7, and more. | Stay atop key Microsoft technologies in our Technology: Microsoft newsletter. ]
"What we're now calling the applications is 'Windows 8 Store applications,'" Tschumy said when asked how developers were supposed to think of what once had been pegged as "Metro." Tschumy conducted a session dubbed "The Principles of Microsoft Design," which was one of several that Microsoft posted on its Channel 9 website throughout the day.
Since August, Microsoft had repeatedly declined to comment when asked what term or terms it had settled on to describe Windows apps. Microsoft dumped the Metro brand name in August, reportedly over a trademark disagreement with a German retailer. At the time, the company insinuated that it had done nothing of the kind, but instead argued that Metro had always been a code name, an assertion that did not gibe with its widespread use by executives for months when talking about Windows 8, or the time before that when the tag applied to Windows Phone apps and design philosophy.
Since August, "Modern" and "Modern UI-style" were used at times by some groups within Microsoft, while others stuck to "Windows 8-style" to describe the new user interface (UI) and apps in Windows 8 and Windows RT. Even the Build agenda didn't use Tschumy's label, instead relying on the slightly shorter "Windows Store app" 23 times in the 134 sessions' descriptions.
According to Wes Miller, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft who has been tracking the number of apps in the Windows Store, the curated marketplace currently sports more than 10,000 programs. The vast bulk of them -- approximately 88 percent at last count -- are free apps.
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Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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