Microsoft is renaming its Office Online web apps to just simply Office. The software maker is using the new terminology “relatively soon” after it finalizes all of the changes to its marketing and technical content. “Because our offerings have evolved to provide access to apps on more than one platform, it no longer makes sense to use any platform-specific sub-brands,” explains Bill Doll, senior product marketing officer at Microsoft.
Microsoft is also discontinuing the use of “Word Online” or “Excel Online,” so all the web apps are simply Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. Microsoft says it may refer to this as “Office for the web” in the future, but that this is just to differentiate between Office on Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android and the web.
This new branding might seem a little confusing, but it makes sense for Microsoft’s broader ambitions with Office and, in particular, the web. Microsoft put its touch-friendly Office apps for Windows 10 on hold last year, and decided to prioritize web development instead. Microsoft is also developing a new Fluid Framework that will improve Office in the browser, with a new flexible document format, text translation, and multi-person collaboration.
This Fluid Framework feels like the future of Office and Windows, and Microsoft now appears to be laying the groundwork for these web versions of Office to become far more powerful in the years ahead.
Microsoft’s Office name change doesn’t affect products like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Project Online, and Office Online Server. These will retain the Online moniker, and this only applies to the Office apps.