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Microsoft abandon Metro name due to legal challenge (loopinsight.com)
168 points by i386 on Aug 3, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 117 comments

"Windows 8-style UI"???? Did their legal team pick that name? This says so much about the state of Microsoft.

This new name has a totally different persona and sends a confusing, unsexy message about Microsoft's vision for the future. It shows no competent person/team is in charge of maintaining a unified, consistent brand, but I guess we already knew that. The name "Metro" must have been an accident. Is "Windows 8-style UI" even really a name? It's more of a literal description. I don't know how you could pick something more lacklustre.

The experience formerly known as "Metro" encapsulates all of the innovative, risky developments Microsoft has been making on the UI front, with mostly positive responses (at least regarding the appearance). Metro was the word for Microsoft's sex appeal. Changing the name to something so unmemorable and vanilla is like deleting the word and its definition from the dictionary.

While this could have been a great opportunity to fuel the hype for the new UI with a slick new name, instead they choose to wet blanket the whole thing, making "Metro" not even really a thing anymore.

Microsoft needs help, they're clearly very, very sick.

One unlikely possibility (refuted elsewhere, but posted anyway): they deliberately chose a replacement name nobody would use, so that the public would continue to call it Metro. "Hey, we told them not to call it Metro, but they did anyway! Please feel free to tear up your trademark and eat it."

"If Microsoft had invented sushi, they would have called it 'Cold Dead Fish'"

Windows Chillfish, Enterprise Plus Edition

[Edit] I take that back. Judging by how their legal department utterly dropped the ball in making sure "Metro" was a usable name, they probably would have gone with a name like "iFish", or "Fishoogle", or "Wal-Mart".

Remember "Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Series" OS?

You think they could've done a slight pivot and called it "Metron" or "MetroX" or "Metronium" or something that at least captured the flavor of the original.

Can you imagine people in a store asking for this thing by "name"?

You could have at least read the article fully before going on a diatribe about Microsoft based on what they name a style guide. Jeesh. That's what they're supposed to call it until the settle on a new name by the end of the week.

Ok, the hyperbole of both articles got me.

> From now on, the new terminology that Microsoft is using is "Windows 8-style UI"… and "New User Interface".

The blog post carefully omitted the final, critical line in the parent article (I skipped the line myself):

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

Sorry, I forgot the crap article got posted instead of the better one.


Just some facts for those that don't understand how Metro AG can strong-arm Microsoft into changing their brand name: Metro ows Media Markt ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_Markt ) and Saturn ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_(store) ), both of which are huge electronics stores in Europe all the way to Russia. Media Markt is the second largest electronics retailer after Best Buy _worldwide_. Both already have an agreement with Apple about store in store. The worst thing Microsoft could do is piss them off, even if they would win the trademark dispute in court.

Also, it would lead to the strange situation that you could buy "Metro" (the UI) products in a "Metro" store, which could lead to actual confusion.

Metro AG is not a brand recognized by the public. People only know the names of its retailers. I live in an area with those stores, and if you asked any random passerbys what "Metro" is, they would come up with references to public transport, not Metro AG.

This is also not the first time Metro AG pressed other brands that are interacting with the public into a name change. It did the same thing with the free european commuter's newspaper "Metro", resulting in a name change in at least one country (Switzerland). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2008/sep/22/europ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_International

Sorry, but thats no true. Metro does have stores called METRO which are well known and they do have electronics departments (hence the reference to being able to buy "Metro" at "Metro"). Not internationally maybe, but in Germany, everyone knows Metro as a cash and carry store as well.


And as I said: even if Metro AGs claim is not valid, they are not one to piss off as someone who sells electronics or software.

Interesting. So close and I've never heard of them.

But it's a wholesale retailer, e.g. it's targeted towards registered professional customers rather than end consumers. My point still stands, the large majority of the public does not interact with them.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Cash_and_Carry

Close to a Metro store, having access to a Metro card is like having a driving license: most people have it or they don't want it. I would say that most of the customers there are not "professionals". I live close to one and use it as a supermarket. Also, Microsoft does also sell to professional customers, so it is still a conflict of interest.

And, my point also stands: I don't care whether Metros claim is valid or not. They are a major distribution partner and Microsoft is depending on them. This is why they can strong-arm Microsoft rather than having to go to court. I don't care the slightest about the "normal people"-argument, because it doesn't matter.

As I cannot edit my post anymore:


links to the brand registration:


Its rather long and includes:

"Datenverarbeitungsgeräte und Computer, mit Programmen versehene maschinenlesbare Datenträger, Datenverarbeitungsprogramme"

"Datenverarbeitungsprogramme" is basically any program handling Data.

Before it came out, the best guess for the name of an Apple phone was "iPhone." But Cisco already produced an Internet phone called iPhone.

Apple called their phone iPhone anyway and told their lawyers to work out the price with Cisco.

On the one hand this makes Apple look like jerks, but on the other hand there is no question who is in charge of marketing: the marketing guys. Not the lawyers.

This decision by Microsoft seems in sharp contrast. Here the lawyers are telling the marketing guys what to do. And the result is laughably bad. It's too bad because "Metro" was a great brand name for a new user interface.

This is making me really angry. Dropping the Metro name is just so... spineless. There are lots of great, simple, evocative brand names that happen to overlap with other totally different kinds of things. There's no more chance of people mistaking the windows 8 UI style with a German retailer than they are with a bus (the Seattle area mass transit service is called "Metro King County").

I don't want to live in a world where cowardly lawyers force every brand name to have an i- prefix, z used as a plural, or missing vowels in the middle.

This is why we can't have nice things.

The headline and the linked article really seem to be setting the wrong tone for this. Metro (the store) and Microsoft are friends. Metro sells microsoft stuff, the two parties make each other a ton of money. Metro says "hey guys, can you call your stuff something else" and microsoft says "sure, no problem buddy". This is how the world should work.

If they're friends, why couldn't Metro-the-store have said "cool name, we obviously like it, maybe it will help us with our store branding"?

Instead they puffed up their chests and Microsoft rolled.

(tin foil hat on) - I wonder if there was internal support at Microsoft for dropping the name Metro, and this trademark question simply provided the cover for it. MS has repeatedly made the decision that they want the "Windows" name to be primary for EVERYTHING--even when it makes no sense like "Windows Phone". Maybe this is just evidence of the Windows brand people winning yet another internecine war within Microsoft. Maybe a decision this bad could only be made by powerful people who think they're making a good decision.

iPhone was just an abandoned product line of Cisco so Apple could license it easily. Metro is fifth largest retailer in the world that incidentally sells consumer electronics. It will be like Apple naming one of their products Walmart and asking the lawyers to get the rights because the marketing team wouldn't budge.


But Metro is not a product, it's just a UI style. Metro is also the name of a subway system. It just seems weird to drop it now after so much momentum around it.

I'm sure they could have worked out a deal... this is Microsoft - did they not want to invest in a key brand? How typical. Microsoft shedding brands like a snake molts. How is anyone supposed to trust their platform?

Metro isn't a key brand. Its a brand targeting developers. The adds for windows phone 7, and presumable Windows 8 will never, have never mentioned Metro.

Really I don't understand why you're so angry, if they'd stopped using Windows, or Microsoft or Office you might have a point, but Metro?

I'm pretty sure most people don't even realize Windows 8 exists yet, let alone that its interface is called "Metro".

Walmart is a unique nonword. This is more like calling it Wall/Wal or Mobil or Target, which all seem fine to me.

Completely false equivalence. If MS had just dropped the name 'windows' or 'xbox' then you might have a point. But the name of the metro interface has nowhere near the significance of apple's flagship product, which also allowed it to tie in perfectly with their then-flagship product(/s) without sounding ridiculous. The name iPhone was central to Apple's entire core branding. Metro? No one but geeks are ever even going to hear the phrase probably.

And it's lawyers telling the marketing guys what not to do, they are not making proactive naming decisions.

I completely disagree. The "revolutionary" interface in Windows Phone 7 is Metro -- that's how it's described in the media and that's how it's marketed. I just had a conversation with a co-worker about Windows 8 and of course we discussed "Metro". What did all the media call Outlook.com not two days ago? The Metro-fication of Outlook. There's a lot of momentum behind that name that's now suddenly going to go nowhere.

From the company who called their new tablet "Surface for Windows 8 RT", Metro was at least a step in the right direction.

Apple also lawyered the 'Apple' trademark away from Apple Corps, who existed before Apple and is now licensing it _from_ Apple.

On the other side, Apple got sued over Rendezvous (their Zeroconf impl), and ended up having to rename it to Bonjour. Not even Apple's immune to being lawyered.

If by "lawyered away" you mean decades of having multi-million dollar trademark infringement judgments levied against Apple Computer before they capitulated and purchased the trademark from Apple Corps for an estimated half billion dollars, then yes... I guess they did lawyer away the trademark.


Huh. The Metro Group is much, much bigger than I imagined when I saw it was a German store. Wikipedia says they're the 5th biggest retailer in the world, 67B Euro in revenue in 2010.

Surprised this American, that's for sure. I can imagine why Microsoft would rather just let this one go.

edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_AG, naturally.

I am not sure about American equivalent, but in here (Czech), it operates under the name "makro" and it is these kind of hypermarkets for smaller and middle sized bussinesses and they have everything in smaller prices and bulk sizes/bigger boxes, that don't make sense for individuals but do make sense for, say, a small restaurant.

from wikipedia: "Core customer groups are hotels, restaurants, caterers, traders and other business professionals."

According to Wikipedia "makro" also exists in the UK:

> In 2009, Makro is the third largest cash & carry wholesaler in the UK with a turnover of £1.1bn and a portfolio of 30 depots nationally.

I've not heard of them before (lived in England all my life) , it makes me wonder how many other giant companies fly under the layman's radar.

Speaking off the record as an employee of a (seriously) gigantic US/Canadian distributor of things, I can tell you a couple facts.

One, if you're in the US or Canada, you've seen our trucks and our stores and probably have no idea what we actually do for our money. And two, that's the way we like it. The company actually has customers sign a contract saying they won't advertise their supplier, and on one occasion refused shipment to a charity for breech of contract when they put our name on their list of sponsors. We made $60,000 off the lawsuit.

There are mega corporations who like to be known. And there are mega corporations who would prefer that only their customers know they exist (and even then, only reluctantly). I would guess that there are more of the second kind than of the first.

Not allowing your name to be used is quite normal. Company I know doesn't allow other companies to show that they have that company as a customer.

Reason for that is branding. The other company is basically advertising using the name of another company. That is a big no. It is sort of saying "company X buys from us, so you should too".

We found out a vendor was using our name to pimp their products to other distributors. That vendor was then caught with bad policies that allowed their product to become infected with malware. As we were dealing with that issue, we got a call from one of our competitors asking if we were infected as well, as they knew we used the same product from the same vendor.

You're absolutely right, keeping your brand carefully under your control is absolutely critical.

$60,000 from a charity. Sigh.

Well the issue at hand was, the company didn't want its name advertised. This was made clear in the contract. The charity specializes in supplying the same goods the company supplies (overstock is given away and written off), so there was a long history of cooperation. Until the charity decided they needed to advertise on our behalf.

I just work in information security for the company of 15,000+ employees, so it's not my call in any way. I can both see where the company stands on the issue, and where the charity stands on the issue. Working the job I do, though, I am glad the company works hard to keep a low profile. No one ever sees us as a target because no one really knows we exist.

> it makes me wonder how many other giant companies fly under the layman's radar

Many, many huge companies fly under the radar.

It's huge in Brazil too. Their stores are most popular among small business owners (or very large families), since you get better prices buying in bulk. They're also usually located in somewhat remote parts of the city.

Makro (and cash & carry's in general) are pretty interesting. You have to know of them either through someone else to actually find out about them, do very little advertising.

However, if you can find someone with a Makro card, make them your best friend.

Their stores are actually pretty awesome. I used to shop there when I was in Shanghai and they're like a deluxe Sam's Club.

But how can there be trademark confusion between a retail store and an OS interface?

I'm really surprised at this. Or was Metro just a codename all along, the word never used in the Windows 8 product itself? In which case, not worth a fight?

Metro AG owns lines of consumer electronics stores. Microsoft owns a line of consumer electronics stores. The word Metro would have possibly appeared on signage, receipts, marketing, etc. in either store.

Wait Microsoft has stores?

Yeah and how can you trademark a word like 'Apple.' It beggars belief. How about Microsoft Metro?

Oh the history of Apple vs Apple records (setup by the beatles - music group some heard of) is a realy good read.


Words aren't sacred. Words become names and names become words. It's all fairly fluid.

Future generations won't know what a college facebook is, and they'll think Google is an obvious name for a website where you google things.

I hear trademarks, patents, and copyrights still make sense anymore, and everyone should be surprised at how outrageously overbearing they are in this context.

Honestly though, after at least half a dozen stories a week on HN about patent, trademark, and copyright trolling, and decades of everyone experiencing the intellectual property minefield, no one should be surprised anymore that crap like this happens.

What is surprising is that it happened to Microsoft and they didn't wage legal warfare over it since they were so close to release.

They should just tweak the spelling to Windows Metwo. Then they could market it as Windows Me 2.0.

I know that's a ridiculous, non-HN type of comment, but really it's no more ridiculous than someone confusing a software UI style with a retail store.

Windows ME 2.0

A more brilliant way to kill sales, I have never heard.

Windows Me, Too? Excellent.

MS also has retail stores though.

That's a valid point. I don't think the brick and mortar store would be a factor, but if Microsoft's app store had a Metro app section, then Metro AG would have a legitimate claim to defend their trademark.

Too close to a Pokemon name

If someone confusing a style of software UI with a retail store is unlikely, confusing it with a Pokemon is even more unlikely.

I loved the suggestion They should condense it to the "W8" or "wait" UI. I wish I had thought of that! I know what I'll be referring to Win8 from now on. :-D

As nice as that may sound, I don't think Windows 8 is a 'wait' UI. Once you learn how to use it properly it's actually significantly faster than Windows 7.

What does 'properly' mean? Does that mean it must be tweaked and optimized to run fast?

Vanilla Win 8 install on a bootable vhd on my notebook runs noticeably faster than a vanilla install of Win 7 on the same machine. Also, once you come to terms with the start screen just being a full screen start menu (less than an hour of use), the whole thing just kind of makes sense. I don't use Win 8 differently than Win 7, when all is said and done, other than small productivity increases from everything seeming to be quicker to find/access.


What's faster? I've never read even the most fervent proponent advocate it as either a more efficient or speedy (from a usability) perspective. That isn't to harsh on it -- the compromise is better touch usability and purportedly better aesthetics, although that is deeply subjective.

From a usability perspective, the start screen is faster than clicking items on the start menu. MS wrote a very convincing blog post on the matter full of statistics (which i agree with mostly). Similarly, the ribbon interface in explorer allows for quicker access.

It also has lower requirements than windows 7 IIRC, so that indicates it should be snappier, and it has faster boot times.

From a usability perspective, the start screen is faster than clicking items on the start menu.

However, that's only true because Microsoft kneecapped the Start menu in Windows 7.

I wouldn't use Windows 7 without Classic Shell (http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/) and I'm sure the same will be true for Windows 8, if/when I'm forced to move to it.

Or play on that squares thing, and use some natural squares in the name: W8-4-9

Why not submit the more substantial link from ars technica?

The Loop link we have here is basically the same one liner Gruber made but 30 minutes later. {this decribes a lot of posts from The Loop}

Class, not the first time a company have publicly announced a product before launch, rolled with it for a year then then just before launch got pointed out there nicking somebody else's name. Metro is also a free newspaper in the UK, name of a subway system....

RIM had the same level of snafu recently as well with the whole BBX branding they went on about and then got told it was somebody elses.

Microsoft could just add another M infront and call it MMetro, but whatever they call it, it's putting a mobile phone interface onto a desktop, so what do they call it on there mobile platform?

ALso why did they pick Metro - what did it stand for Microsoft Enormous Tile Royalty Option(!) Meaningless Enviroment To Ride Obscurity(!) I don't know and I don't think they did either.

Still at least we have more faith in them testing thre software than we do there naming, don't we.

Could it be that newspaper and subway system that were named Metro are both operating locally so there's no brand confusion while Metro AG has worldwide operations?

More than likely, but it is understandable that nobody would want to be associated with what microsoft is pushing out as a UI.

I also wonder though that it is this late stage that perhaps Metro AG is not that big of a global brand that the only confusion would be non existant. Especialy as there business appears as unrelated as any paper or tube train.

Still its PR for Metro AG and given the late stage maybe some potentual pay off from Microsoft, why else leave it until now.

It's actually a good thing for them. Generic bland names, such as "Metro", "Live", "Color", "Slide" do not work. "New iPad" is better.

But the third-generation iPad is just called that, 'iPad'. It's only referred to by Apple as 'new iPad' in contexts where its new features are described, or to distinguish it from the previous iPad, such as in the online store.

Have you forgotten how much everyone hated the iPad name when it was first announced? "New iPad" only sounds good because people have come to the love the iPad.

Remember when Nintendo anounced the name "Wii"? Everyone was ridiculing it and web cartoonists had a productive work day. And then everybody moved on and today it is just normal.

Maybe changing the name of the product when it is finally released to the public is a good idea?, they basically remove the link between the early reviews and the final product. So the public might not even see the these initial bad reviews etc.

According to the zdnet article linked by recoilednsake:

Update: A spokesperson is now saying the reason for this Metro de-emphasis is not related to any litigation. (I asked if it is related to any kind of copyright dispute that hasn't yet gone to litigation and was told there would be no further comment.)

The spokesperson added:

“We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines. As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names.”

Their earlier literature makes this harder to believe:

> Metro is our design language. We call it Metro because it's modern and clean. It's fast and in motion. It's about content and typography. And it's entirely authentic.

At some point, trying to spin something obviously related to legal issues makes you look silly. Why not just say they respect the established brand and gain nice-guy points?

Why not just call it Urban?

I doubt this will have a lasting negative impact on the Windows 8 platform, because I suspect that the majority of mainstream users haven't really encoded the 'Metro' name into their minds yet.

Still, if this is true, it's not great news for MS.

(And neither for those who have already registered sites like metrodev.com)

I think I'll wait for a more trustworthy confirmation of this rumor to get worked up about it.

Microsoft might abandon it, but as a name for a certain visual style, I suspect "Metro" will live on. (Consider Ajax. Also a brand of cleaning products.) It's too distinctive a style to either lack a name or be tied to one product (like Windows 8).

Same thing happended with Windows Workflow Foundation in 2005.


This is rather silly, I wonder if this is also why Longhorn was changed to Vista. I for one hope the use of Metro sticks around just to spite Metro AG.

Longhorn wasn't changed to vista, it was always a code name and never intended for release. Just like windows whistler and windows blackcomb were never intended to be release names.

For those curious, those names came about because there is a Longhorn Bar in the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort in British Columbia.

Here is Wikipedia's list of Microsoft codenames: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Microsoft_codenames. Strangely, the article lists Metro as the Windows 7 UI. Also, the XML Paper Specification (XPS) had previously also used the Metro codename.

That would be a stupid (and costly) mistake. Better to forge a deal with Metro AG, pay the piper, and invest in the brand.

Perhaps that's what will ultimately happen - if you remember the Cisco/iPhone "debacle", that was free earned media. Apple essentially paid Cisco for keeping the iPhone name alive in the media for weeks.

I'm not sure how much of an impact this will have. I'm guessing that the name 'Metro' will stick around, even if Microsoft doesn't officially use it.

Someone really dropped the ball on this. They should have had this figured out before they used the name "Metro" for the first time.

But everybody is going to call it "Metro" anyway!

A legal challenge has never stopped them before. Also you'd imagine they could always come to some compensation agreement.

Apple would have kept the Metro name and settled out of court later. Its a shame that Microsoft is too risk-averse.

Metro is just about the only thing Microsoft has going for it these days, as far as I'm concerned. What a blunder.

The marketing churn surrounding Windows 8/Windows RT/WinRT/Metro style/Windows 8 style/etc. is just confounding and embarrassing. Maybe I'm over-reacting as a somewhat-interested software developer, but this just seems like a complete fail. I agree with other commenters that the concept of "Metro" probably doesn't mean anything to the average consumer yet, so maybe this isn't a huge deal, but the concept/style/codename of "Metro" was definitely the only bright spot in the situation, so it's sad to see that term go.

Kinnect is a winner, too.

Indeed. When I say "just about", I'm referring to the Xbox division. Some good stuff happening there too.

This is truly a shame and probably explains why Microsoft chose Windows Phone OS instead of Metro OS. I wonder why they didn't attempt to license the name or fight it (since it's unlikely that using the same name for a UI style and a retailer would cause any consumer confusion).

That doesn't mean picking "Windows Phone" isn't still a blunder. "Windows" is not a great brand to begin with and it already had a worse reputation after Microsoft abandoned Windows Mobile. Unfortunately, all of the WP7 shenanigans have only made this worse.

At this point, they really should go with something like "Xbox Phone" and I half-wonder if they'd do better with "Bob Phone" (it was at least a long time ago).

How come this is coming up only now? Didn't WP7 release in 2010?

MS is like the Keystone Cops of the tech world sometimes.

Seriously, "Metro"? It's a dictionary word, and they are completely in different branches. I wouldn't expect Microsoft to give up just like that..

I like this. 'metro' is unnecessary jargon, a design language does not need to have a trademark name. Just referring to it as what it is makes a lot more sense.

I have mixed feelings. The Metro UI described one specific portion of the Windows 8 interface, which gives it a use for differentiating between metro-style and old-windows-style. It seemed like good branding. And, one that could be shared across platforms.

Now it's "Window 8 Phone featuring Windows 8-style UI" where the unique Metro branding could have served well.

Then again, I noticed a friend had Windows 8 loaded on his laptop the other day, and he had no idea what I was talking about when I asked how "metro" was

Why can't a design language have a name (not necessarily a trademark)?

It can be used to differentiate it from what it's not. Programmers use names for everything, why can't a design have a name?

Apple had the aqua visual style, that is no longer with us.

Wouldn't this be more akin to Cocoa and Carbon in the Apple world? Metro goes a bit deeper than just the UI layer, as I understand it.

Not quite. Cocoa is really just an Objective-C API, though it's coupled with Aqua through Xcode and recent innovations like AutoLayout, whereby HIG policies are enforced by code. Metro seems to be more than that.

They could all it Windows Metropolitan Sevice Pack for Workgroups Infringement Edition.

I call bullshit on this one. Metro is a dictionary word so it cannot be trademarked as it is. I don't believe Microsoft would give up so easily.

Broadly speaking, any word can be trade marked if it is distinctive/not descriptive. Apple is distinctive for computers, but not for actual apples. As a result, I couldn't get a trade mark for 'Apple' for apples, but I could (or at least Apple did) for computers etc.

So is apple, so is amazon. that's a very moot argument.

Better story than the blogspam linked:


This is actually a good move, since the Metro design philosophy was getting confused with the WinRT environment. You can make a WinRT app that's not Metro looking, and you can also make a Desktop app that's Metro (see MetroTwit http://www.metrotwit.com/wp-content/themes/MetroTwit2012/ima... ).

So the two different app types in Windows 8 will be WinRT apps and Desktop apps. Not a big fan of the 'Windows 8 style UI' terminology though, maybe they should come up with a different name to represent the design philosophy.

WinRT can already get confused with "Windows RT". You certainly can't confuse Microsoft with a company that's good at naming things.

I think this is a demotion for desktop apps. The phrase "Windows 8 style UI" implies that the colorful rectangle look is the style for Windows 8. The classic desktop environment, by implication, is not Windows 8 style.

The Metro look is supposed to be ported to the desktop experience (see: office 13, github for windows). Their intention is for normal desktop applications to adopt his theme.

The classic desktop environment is windows 8 style. Apps that are not developed for it, certainly are not Windows 8 style.

How did this not come up before?

Oh zune.

I love short jokes.


Or call it 'Klatmi'; bastardized from 'klagt mich' or 'sue me'[0]

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sosumi

Yeah, total butt heads for not wanting Microsoft to dilute their trademark. If the public starts to associate Metro with Microsoft, then that does affect them. Besides Metro isn't even that exciting of a name. Just some rudimentary due diligence in MS's part could have avoided this whole thing. Balmer has some idiots working for him.

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