In August, after a trademark dispute with a German retailer, Microsoft killed off the 'Metro' brand naming design for apps and replaced it with "Modern," "Modern UI-style," "Windows 8-style," "Windows 8 style UI," and now officially calls it the 'Windows 8 Store.' At least that is the name according to Will Tschumy, who is a principal user experience advisor for Microsoft. However "a Microsoft spokeswoman told CNET that Tschumy misspoke and that the term is simply 'Windows Store apps.'" Join the crowd if you are confused; as Gregg Keizer pointed out, during the BUILD agenda, Microsoft itself referred to it "as 'Windows Store app' 23 times in the 134 sessions' descriptions."
As Computerworld's Preston Gralla pointed out:
The name Windows 8 Store apps doesn't exactly trip off the tongue lightly, does it? But it has other problems beyond its awkward name. First off, it's inaccurate. The Windows 8-specific apps that ship with Windows 8, such as People, Calendar, Mail, and so on, are built directly into the operating system, they're not gotten from the Windows Store. So that means that plenty of "Windows 8 Store apps" in fact aren't really Windows 8 Store apps, because they're baked right into Windows 8 software and don't need to be downloaded from the Windows 8 store.
Meanwhile, the Windows Store for developers reported, "Throughout the Windows 8 preview timeframe, we've been humbled by interest in the Windows Store and amazed at the level of creativity you've poured into app development on the new platform." That seemed a bit surprising in light of the Windows 8 app selections, but VentureBeat disagrees by stating, "Developers from around the spectrum have been building great Windows 8 apps for months." Conversely, Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, has been keeping tabs on apps for Windows 8 and said, "There aren't a ton of stellar apps."
Miller tweets about new Windows apps, but also wrote, "Since the day before launch, the Windows Store has been adding 500 or so apps per day (with one exception)." Miller was surprised by the lack of a promiscuous app that is "more concerned with its own viability than that of any platform it runs on." Of the promiscuous apps that are in the Windows Store, Miller said:
I'm not seeing stellar apps that are platform exclusives, and more importantly, I'm seeing a dearth of, well, productivity apps. I guess it's only fair, right? Microsoft themselves said that writing productivity apps in WinRT is hard. Well, they didn't say it was hard, they just didn't bring Office over to the WinRT world. To be fair, it is going to be a ton of work to reproduce the productivity value of Office in a TDLFKAM world. A ton of work.
In other Windows Store app news, Facebook and Microsoft must have had a tiff, since "Facebook said it has no plans to build a native app" for the newly released Windows 8. Twitter, on the other hand, announced, "#Windows8 needs a great Twitter app. So we're building it. Looking forward to sharing it with you in the months ahead." Another interesting twist is that Twitter recently killed off Twitter for Mac.
Just in case you didn't know, CEO Steve Ballmer said Microsoft is a "devices and services" company now. Marco Chiappetta reported that "there is clearly some resentment over Surface" and Ballmer's proclamation. Yet Chiappetta believes when "Ballmer said that this latest batch of Windows 8-ready machines really were the 'best Windows PCs ever', he wasn't lying."
Lastly, adding to Microsoft's woes, the Redmond giant is being sued for patent infringement in regard to its live tiles. "SurfCast, Inc. headquartered in Portland, Maine, today filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court of Maine against Microsoft, Inc. alleging that Microsoft has infringed and is infringing Surfcast's U.S. Patent No. 6,724,403 with its Windows 8 and Surface products, among others." SurfCast CEO Ovid Santoro stated, "We developed the concept of Tiles in the 1990s, which was ahead of its time. Microsoft's Live Tiles are the centerpiece of Microsoft's new Operating Systems and are covered by our patent."
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Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. Smith has a diverse background in information technology, programming, web development, IT consulting, and information security. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.
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