WinInfo Short Takes, August 3, 2012

An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...

Windows 8 Leaks

When Microsoft announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows 8 this week, many wondered why the first individuals to get the new OS—MSDN and TechNet subscribers—would have to wait a full two weeks, until August 15, to get their hands on it. Well, there’s no need to wait: Windows 8 Enterprise has apparently leaked to all your favorite torrents, so aside from some prickly activation issues, it appears that anyone who really wants Windows 8 immediately can make that happen. Microsoft, of course, advises against downloading software from such questionable sources: After all, who knows exactly what you’re getting? And I agree with this advice, though I’d also point out that after all the whining and complaining about Windows 8, no one wants it anyway. Right? Ah, I see. That was all just for show.

Microsoft Ends Use of Metro Name

On Thursday’s episode of Windows Weekly, we broke the news that Microsoft was ending its use of the term “Metro” internally. (Yes, it was amusing to see other publications refer to this news as an “exclusive” after the fact.) Here’s what’s happening: For unspecified “legal reasons,” Microsoft has informed its employees that they can no longer use the term “Metro” to describe what till now had been called Metro-style apps and experiences. Instead, Metro Apps will now be called Windows 8 Apps. And the Metro UI is now referred to as the Windows 8 UI, or “other appropriate terminology.” There’s been a lot of speculation as to the exact “why” of this decision, but I don’t quite get it since Microsoft never actually called this new environment “Metro” anyway. Yes, it did frequently refer to “Metro-style” apps and experiences, but that was just a reference to the Metro design language, and a fairly accurate way to describe these things, I think. So, anyway, the name Microsoft never really officially used—just Metro by itself—can now no longer be officially used. Eh.

My Recommendation for the New Name of Metro

I don’t like the Microsoft recommendations for replacing the name Metro—"Windows 8 Apps" and "Windows 8 UI," respectively—because they’re so temporary. Windows 8 is going to come and go, but the name of this experience needs to be something that lasts between Windows versions, much like the term “desktop” has. Fortunately, there’s a great name we can use, and it’s ready to go: WinRT. You might recall that the new Windows Runtime in Windows 8 is also called WinRT, and that it is to Metro what Win32 is to the desktop environment. So there’s absolutely no reason we couldn’t simply call this thing WinRT and move on from there. It’s a great name.

Microsoft Doesn't Have a New Logo (Hint: Yes It Does)

A new Microsoft logo, based on the clean and light Segoe UI font used in Windows 8, has begun appearing in various places, including during the Surface tablet announcement in June and, more recently, on the packaging of the newly announced Wedge and Sculpt keyboards and mouse devices. So naturally some are wondering whether Microsoft is changing its corporate branding and adopting this new logo. Microsoft says it is not. “This is not a new logo,” a Microsoft statement reads. “Segoe is the font that we use in many of our product experiences and marketing materials. You will see the word Microsoft showing up from time to time in the Segoe typeface, which reflects the look and feel of the new experiences we are creating. We’ll also continue to use the traditional Microsoft logotype.” So, it is a new version of the logo then. Why claim otherwise?

Windows Phone Usage Surges by 277 Percent in Q2 2012

So much for all that talk about the Windows Phone 8 announcement harming current handset sales: According to Canalys, Windows Phone handset shipments surged an astonishing 277 percent in the previous quarter, over half of which occurred after that supposedly damning announcement. That’s about 10 times the growth than Apple’s iPhone saw (a piddling 28 percent) and over 5 times the growth of Android (47 percent). Nokia apparently accounted for 80 percent of Windows Phone sales, which I hope puts the final nail in another bit of Windows Phone silliness foisted on you by people who simply want the platform to fail: No, Nokia wasn’t adversely affected by this announcement either. (Sorry.) Overall, Windows Phone accounted for 5.1 million units sales in the quarter, up from 1.3 million in the same quarter a year earlier, and good for 3.2 percent market share (up from 1.2 percent a year earlier).

Microsoft: (Almost) All Your Android Are Belong to Us

Microsoft consummated a patent-licensing deal with Android device maker Honeywell, its 15th such license and a pretty clear indication that Microsoft must have a pretty serious case against the intellectual property theft in Google’s a-bit-too-familiar device OS. So far, virtually every Android device maker imaginable has signed up to license Microsoft’s mobile industry patents—including the big ones, like Samsung and HTC—with the sole notable exception of Motorola Mobility, which is now the smallest part of the vast Google empire. But hey, they’re welcome to sign on too. (And what a capitulation that would be, eh?) “Microsoft has always been, and remains open to, a settlement of our patent litigation with Motorola,” a Microsoft blog post written by general counsel Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez notes cheerily. They’re so nice up there in Redmond.

Apple v. Samsung Predictably Turns Into He Said, She Said

As you probably know, the epic trial pitting Apple versus Samsung is underway this week in San Jose, California, with both sides accusing the other of copying competitors in their smartphone and tablet products. It’s already getting nasty. Apple lawyers have argued that Samsung is “impugning the integrity of the court” by releasing evidence publicly. That evidence includes testimony from an Apple designer who agreed that his company copied Sony product designs when creating the first iPhone, as Samsung has asserted. Not to be outdone, Samsung lawyers claimed that an attempt by Apple to pretend that jurors wouldn’t know about, or could ignore, a previous injunction against Samsung was “an affront to the integrity of the jury.” I love this kind of talk, and I’m pretty sure it’s exactly what trash-talking NBA players must sound like to each other.

Apple Patents the Surface Tablet’s Keyboard Cover

If you’re looking for proof that the two keyboard covers Microsoft has invented for its upcoming Surface tablets are innovative, look no further than an Apple patent application called “Cover Attachment With Flexible Display,” which appears to be exactly the same design. But I’ll let Apple describe why it’s such a great idea. “This configuration gives the user an experience much closer to the one enjoyed by laptop users,” the application notes. “By allowing the user to easily view the screen and by providing a convenient surface to type on, tasks such as word processing and email become much more efficient.” It’s almost as if Apple is saying that such tasks are sub-optimal on an iPad today. Tres embarrassment!

Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!

Though I’m in France for the next three weeks, Andrew Zarian and I recorded the latest episode of the What the Tech podcast on Tuesday, and Leo Laporte, Mary Jo Foley, and I recorded the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast on Thursday. As always, these episodes should be available soon, generally in both audio in video formats, on the web, and via iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found. You can also find all of my podcast activities on the SuperSite for Windows.

The Paul Thurrott Mobile App: Is That a Paul in Your Pocket?

The Paul Thurrott: Pocket Tech app is now available for both the iPhone and Windows Phone, bringing all of my technical content to your favorite mobile device in a fun, on-the-go format. We'll have an Android version available soon as well, I'm told. And who knows? A Windows 8 app would make plenty of sense too. Download for Windows Phone - Download for iPhone

But Wait, There's More

Don't forget to follow me on TwitterFriendfeedPaul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, and the SuperSite Blog!

TAGS: Windows 8
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.