As most readers know, Microsoft has dropped the hipster name "Metro" from its new touch-centric Windows 8 offering. It's now getting the kind of public thrashing Microsoft has never experienced, and it's coming mainly from reviewers and columnists. Just wait until actual customers get hold of this upcoming turkey.
What's fascinating to me is the fact that the company has paid zero attention to any of the free advice, asserting that it knows best. After all, Microsoft runs focus groups and has all sorts of usability labs where it tests every feature and every idea to death. In the company's opinion, there is no way some dopey columnist or a beta tester can see the big picture. The critics are basing their thoughts on the past, not the future. The critics just don't get it.
I can assure you that this is the exact thinking going on at Microsoft each time someone reads an article that moans and groans about Metro – or whatever it's now called.
I think the company wants to change the name because it's a diminutive term for metrosexual and a mild insult to the androgynous generation of creepy look-alike couples. Other than that, it is plain stupid.
So what should replace the Metro name? I have the perfect answer for Microsoft. It's a public domain word: Kiosk.
I think it's not only a winner, but it perfectly describes the interface's big blocks and full-screen monster apps. It's exactly like what you’ll find in big department stores such as J.C. Penny over in the States, with their store kiosks.
The real idea behind the Kiosk interface on the desktop is to get users in the mood to buy apps from the Microsoft store. What better way than to give them an interface likely to be used in a department store?
Let's face it. Microsoft has lost touch with its users. Instead of giving them what they want, it gives them solutions to problems that do not exist. In an era of 27in monitors, this whole full-screen nonsense is daft. I cannot imagine the number of phone calls Microsoft's customer service is going to be forced to field over this "feature." Yes, if you have not heard, Windows 8 will typically force you to run apps, old and new, at full screen, unless you push your way into the old desktop.
A lot of the newest stuff will only run in the full-screen Kiosk/Metro interface. The calls will play out like this:
Unhappy user: I cannot shrink this application. Where is the minimise button on Windows 8?
Customer service representative: Sir, there is no minimise button.
Unhappy user: So how do I get the application smaller?
Customer service representative: You can't.
Unhappy user: But I want to switch back and forth between two programs.
Customer service representative: That's easy, you can task switch.
Unhappy user: That's old fashioned! I want both apps running and I want to see them both at the same time in different windows so I can compare things visually.
Customer service representative: We at Microsoft don't think anyone ever wants to do that.
So now we wait for the rollout. I can go back to earlier articles to see exactly when I first predicted the failure of Windows 8 and compare notes with other tech writers. The first guy who called it correctly gets free beers when our secret club of critics has its meet-up. (Now you know).
Next we have to figure out why this happened in the first place and that's a tougher question to answer. I can assure you it was not the computer-using public that demanded this.