How we made the Office 366 satire

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We hope you enjoy our little 1st April satire, Office 366. Office 366 was fun and, along the way, reminded people of some important points about Office 365 plans.

‘Office 366’ is the, not impossible, idea that Microsoft would make Office 365 customers pay for leap day in 2020.  the Office 366 announcement including FAQ.  Used plenty of Microsoft phrasing and weasel words.  our explanation of Office 366    the exclusive interview with the Office 366 team.

We appreciate the kind comments from folks who appreciated the satire on Microsoft and the possibilities of software ‘subscriptions’.

Birth of Office 366

It started with a question from Colin S., an Office Watch reader, back in February.

“Will Microsoft upgrade to Office-366 or can we take a day off? “

That got us wondering about the possibilities of a leap year and a product specifically called ‘365’.  April Fool’s pranks aren’t our style, but this was too good to resist. The aim wasn’t to fool or scare anyone. Aside from the date, there were enough deliberate clues planted to raise alarm bells.

The power of Office 365 to Microsoft

Office 366, gave us a chance to make some points about modern ‘subscription’ software plans.  They give companies like Microsoft a lot more power over what people get for their money. The benefits and prices can be changed with little notice.

This has already happened with Office 365. ‘Office 366‘ is just an a slightly exaggeration of what’s possible.  Office 365 has changed its terms, benefits and prices many times in its short history.  Most of those changes have benefited customers but not all.

See What Office 366 demonstrates about Office 365’s downside

Microsoft’s language

Many of the terms and phrases at have been used by Microsoft either now or in the past.

“For the convenience of our customers …” followed by something that clearly benefits Microsoft more than customers.

This paragraph is directly from Microsoft’s own site.

“These forward-thinking changes are necessary to ensure that we can continue to deliver a collaborative, connected, and intelligent service. They will allow us to continue to innovate and make Office the best option for people who want to be productive and do more.”

Those exact sentences and other phrases were used in 2015 to justify the major reduction in OneDrive quota from ‘unlimited’ to 1TB.

What are “undisclosed advance commissions”?

That phrase came from the wonderful Yes, Minister “A Conflict of Interest” by the late Sir Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn (still alive but strangely no matching knighthood).

It’s a euphemism for ‘bribe’. We used it as one of many ‘reasons’ for Office 366 pricing which started with the plausible and became more ridiculous. Many of the terms were taken from Microsoft’s own public explanations of pricing (e.g. “needs of partners”)

Unexpected upside

A curious advantage to our little spoof.  It made some people aware of Office 365 benefits they’d overlooked!

The Skype call part of Office 365 is a useful little bonus but underused.

Even the OneDrive 1TB allowance is overlooked, despite all of Microsoft’s efforts to push their cloud service.

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