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Office To Be Absorbed into Microsoft 365

This week during the Ignite conference, evidence of Microsoft's plans to kill the Office brand name in favor of "Microsoft 365" has started to emerge.

Also popping up this week during the Microsoft Ignite event is a new "O" logo for Office products, which are now switching to become Microsoft 365 products for the most part.

The source of Office product name-change news is Microsoft itself. It has published this Microsoft365.com landing page for a new and coming Microsoft 365 App and Office.com replacement. The page flatly declares that "Office is becoming Microsoft 365." The actual application products (such as Excel, PowerPoint and Word), though, aren't changing with this declaration. It's just a name change.

The drama of the Office name swap is further tamped down by this Microsoft 365 App FAQ, which explained that its perpetual-license Office products (sometimes called "boxed" products), such as Office 2021 for consumers and small businesses, will still use the Office branding. Everything else, though, is getting the "Microsoft 365" imprimatur.

Office Name Not Dead Yet
Microsoft answered the question, "Is Office going away entirely?", in the Microsoft App FAQ as follows:

No, as part of Microsoft 365 you will continue to get access to apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. We will also continue to offer one-time purchases of those apps to consumers and businesses via Office 2021 and Office LTSC plans.

Microsoft does sell Office LTSC plans for commercial and government users, which are purchased as "a one-time, 'perpetual' purchase," offering applications such as Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word, as described in this other Microsoft FAQ.

The notion that Microsoft is killing off its own Office brand possibly emerged from Microsoft's very real efforts to shift one-time-paying perpetual Office 2021 buyers over to the continuous-pay Office 365 subscription model. Microsoft has taken measures to make things unpleasant for Office 2021 buyers by shortening the product's support period by three years and threatening buyers with "fear, uncertainty and doubt" that Office 2021 users will still be able to connect with various Microsoft 365 services.

No Surprise
It's actually no surprise that the Office brand is getting downplayed, or maybe will be eliminated at some point.

This week's name-change revelations aren't the first time Microsoft intentionally downplayed Office in favor of Microsoft 365. Microsoft had announced name changes to that effect more than two years ago, where most (but not all) "Office 365" product names were switched to "Microsoft 365."

There were some odd holdouts back then during that 2020 name change. For instance, Microsoft had said it was continuing to use "Office 365" with some products, namely Office 365 for Enterprise, Office 365 for Firstline Workers, Office 365 for Education and Office 365 for Government. It's those products that likely are getting the rebrand to Microsoft 365.

The Coming Microsoft 365 App
The Microsoft 365 name switch is arriving during the Microsoft Ignite news week, but it doesn't seem to have been noteworthy enough to be mentioned directly in Microsoft's main announcements.

For instance, this Ignite announcement by Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, doesn't describe the name change, but it does point to the new Microsoft 365 App landing page, which apparently is the new Office.com home page.

The Microsoft 365 FAQ, though, suggested that this changeover is yet to come, stating that "in the coming months, Office.com, the Office mobile app, and the Office app for Windows will become the Microsoft 365 app, with a new icon, a new look, and even more features."

The switch to Microsoft 365 branding will start in November with Office.com. The switch target date for the Office App on Windows and Office Mobile App to get Microsoft 365 App branding will be Jan. 2023, per Microsoft's FAQ.

These apps will be automatically updated to the coming Microsoft 365 branding and won't require user action. The Microsoft 365 App itself will be available for download via "Microsoft365.com, on Windows via the Microsoft Store, and in both Google Play and the Apple App Store," the Microsoft 365 App FAQ indicated.

Microsoft 365 App Highlights
The new Microsoft 365 App is conceived as a "starting point" for all Microsoft 365 users. It will let users store work-connection links, and links to favorite apps.

The Microsoft 365 App will serve as "home to all your favorite productivity apps -- Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook -- along with new apps for creation and expression, like Loop, and any third-party apps you choose," Spataro indicated.

Highlighted features in the Microsoft 365 App include a Create module (already available), which provides templates for projects. Also, users can discover and pin their favorite tools using the app, and there will be a My Content central location for viewing content "regardless of where it's stored."

Moreover, Microsoft 365 App users will get a feed showing relevant content based on "who you work with and what you work on." Microsoft also will enable "tagging" in the app, which is a way to "organize your content." Lastly, a user's Microsoft 365 subscription status will get displayed in the app.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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