A lot of misleading talk about the Microsoft 365 change makes it seem a lot bigger and more of an upheaval than it really is. Time for a reality break … breath regular everyone.
Headlines like these are all ‘bollocks’ as the British say, nonsense:
- Office 365 major shakeup
- Replacing Office 365
- Converting Office 365
- Microsoft 365 new products
- New Microsoft 365 subscriptions
- Microsoft 365 offers AI assistance
Microsoft loves to hype their wares. They are very good at promoting even small changes as if they were world-changing. Office Watch has been peeling back the hype from Redmond for two decades so we know what to look for and this has all the classic signs of a Microsoft PR snow job.
Existing Office 365 / Microsoft 365 customers
Existing Office 365 customers will notice NO change with the rebranding to Microsoft 365.
Even Microsoft admits that, in an email to customers with the subject “Your subscription has a new name” and following up with “New name, same great value, same price.” and “Don’t worry—you don’t need to do a thing.”
New Office 365 buyers
New customers won’t notice anything either, they can buy ‘Office 365’ products and get the same thing with, perhaps, a slightly different name.
Office 365 is changing name
All that’s happening is a change of name from Office 365 to Microsoft 365.
There are a few changes of product names Office 365 Home becomes Microsoft Family .
NO change in what the products offer. It’s just a new label for the same thing.
Same story with the business packages where there’s a curious little shell game of name swapping but again, nothing truly new, just renaming existing bundles.
New Microsoft 365?
We’ll see new or changed products under the Microsoft 365 umbrella, in the future, but not for the moment. There’s nothing truly new about a name change.
Even most of the ‘new’ features in Microsoft’s announcement weren’t new. They were existing Office features with tweaks or future plans for additions to their cloud services which are NOT yet available.
Teams for Home/Families isn’t even in preview/beta yet, let alone available publicly. Not even a name has been decided, let alone a price or release date.
Family Safety is new, when it arrives publicly. There’s a limited public preview to come first and that’s likely to show up many issues with the new apps.
Partner Benefits are sales lures to other subscriptions.
Excel is getting new data types which sound great, when they arrive ‘in the coming months’.
PowerPoint Presenter Coach has been around for months in the online version. Some new checks have been added, ‘tis all.
PowerPoint Designer has been around for even longer (and it’s in Window and Mac PPT). Microsoft has added more templates and design elements.
The ‘new’ Editor is mostly a revamp of the existing ‘Rewrite’ feature in Word (it’s still called Rewrite on the menu). Editor browser addons are gradually coming online after a few days of promises.
Microsoft loves to talk about ‘AI’ or artificial intelligence in their cloud services. It makes it seem like HAL from 2001 has finally arrived … OK, bad example.
Experts in the field say that true AI is rare in 2020, most of what’s hyped as AI is really machine learning. Machine Learning is a different and lesser thing.
That doesn’t mean features like Editor, Stock and Geography data types and PowerPoint Designer aren’t good and useful, but they aren’t really AI.