Slowly but surely we’ve moving towards another name change for Office 365. The main Office consumer products are likely to be renamed ‘Microsoft 365’ and here’s just four indicators that a change is coming.
This has been looming for some time. Microsoft has been mostly successful getting organizations and consumers onto annual payments ‘subscriptions’ for Office. Now they want to extend that into other Microsoft products, especially Windows.
There are many possibilities, but we suspect that Microsoft will settle for a simple name change at first. Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home will become Microsoft 365 Personal and Microsoft 365 Home. Same product, same prices, different name.
Once customers are accustomed to that change, Microsoft can expand their annual plans to include other cloud services, Skype, OneDrive and especially paid Windows.
Splash Screens and Account screens
One sign of this change comes from various Twitter users who get ‘pre-Insiders’ Office releases. The splash screen and Account pages have switched from ‘Office 365’ to ‘Microsoft 365’.
It isn’t the first time Microsoft has renamed products with the first ‘announcement’ being in the software splash screen. ‘Office 2016’ software become ‘Office 365’ starting on the splash screens only a year ago.
Other recent renamings in Office are grouping online features as ‘Connected Experiences’ and the widely mocked and impractical ’ and the widely mocked and impractical renaming of ‘Office Online’ as just ‘Office’.
Blog post from Corporate VP
Another indicator comes from a Corporate Vice President at Microsoft. His post on changes in Office products; Excel, PowerPoint, Onenote and Yammer is headed ‘New to Microsoft 365’.
Office Updater rebranded
Yannick of ChangeWindows fame noticed that the Microsoft logo appears on the Office updater (File | Account | Update Options | Update Now )
That’s the way it appears in the current public release of Office 365 for Windows.
Various commentators like Mary Jo Foley, have noted the move and asked Microsoft for a comment. As usual, Microsoft had a carefully worded response which only confirms that a change is nigh ….
“ No, we have no plans to rebrand Office 365 ProPlus to Microsoft 365 ProPlus at this point. Customers can still buy Office 365 ProPlus without Windows and Intune. “
Saying that Microsoft ‘have no plans’ is pushing credibility given the evidence.
‘… at this point.’ also stretches believability but is a standard ‘weasel phrase’ to leave open changes in the future. Similarly ‘… can still buy …’ only applies to the present and makes no promise for the future.
The specific mention of ‘Office 365 ProPlus’ is notable because it leaves open renaming of the consumer Office 365 plans.
Any renaming and rebranding will NOT change the way we use Microsoft Office on a daily basis. Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc will continue to work as usual.