Windows 8 was released to manufacturing on Aug. 1st of this year and, over the preceding months, had gained a somewhat well deserved reputation as a dog due to the much maligned Metro interface. Well, a funny thing happened last week. Microsoft started acting like it was 1984 by erasing the name of a party official who had fallen out of favour. In this case, the party official was named Metro.
Microsoft has claimed that Metro was simply a code name like “Longhorn” or “Afton” to be used in the development and testing phase. The company has insisted that its forthcoming operating system should rightly be known as Windows 8 and that we should pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Dr. Data’s immediate response was “Balderdash!”
He was not the only one. On Friday, ZDNet’s Ed Bott published a blog post explaining why he agreed with Dr. Data. Among the things Mr. Bott noted was that there was absolutely nothing in any public reference that indicated that Metro was a code-name. You can read the rest of the evidence yourself on ZDNet.
What Dr. Data is wondering about is why Microsoft would do this. Is Redmond having nightmares of old OS blunders? (Instead of Jacob Marley, it’s Vista & Bob!) Is Redmond concerned that there is too much negative press about Metro and dropping the name is a way – in the short run – to throw the press and the public off the scent? Is Microsoft concerned that there are too many workarounds – like Start8 – being developed so users can make the OS function how they want to rather than how Redmond wants it to. Has Microsoft finally listened to the howls of indignation from consumers and has made a few subtle changes so desk/lap top users don’t have access their OS in the same way a tablet user does?
OK, Dr. Data could go on and on suggesting things like an alien abduction of Steve Balmer. What Dr. Data does want to say was that he – and most other people interested in stuff like this – saw and played with the consumer preview of Windows 8. Nonetheless there were a number of months between the time that preview was made available and the Aug. 1st RTM . There is no telling what Redmond could have done – or not done – with the interface during that time. This is a mystery worthy of Holmes and Watson that will only be revealed on October 26th.
By the way, the butler did it.