What is Office 365 (now Microsoft 365)?

As of 2022, Microsoft 365 has replaced Office 365 as Microsoft’s main cloud and productivity solution. Depending on the subscription package, Microsoft 365 offers all the important Office applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as cloud integration with OneDrive and Exchange Online. One of the reasons for renaming the Office suite is Microsoft’s desire to market the Office suite as a cloud-based solution for data processing and teamwork and shed its image of being a pure office software.

From Office 365 to Microsoft 365

Microsoft is not the first company to change the name of a product and they definitely won’t be the last. This practice is known as rebranding and is an important marketing strategy. Through a rebrand, products and product lines can be realigned and adapted to the corporate brand or to the market. This applies to Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite, now known as Microsoft 365. Microsoft announced the changes back in 2020 and the rebranding of Office 365 to Microsoft 365 was implemented in April 2022.

The name change includes all Office apps and subscription packages, including the mobile app, the Windows app and the office.com address. The rebrand is expected to be concluded in 2023. As such, Microsoft will no longer offer Microsoft services as MS Office or Office 365 but will make them available as part of Microsoft 365. Overall, not much will change for existing customers or new users of the productivity suite. Microsoft also packages to launch new and improved features for Microsoft 365.

Tip

Get full flexibility for cloud-based teamwork or private use with Microsoft 365 from IONOS, including automated updates, flexible packages, access to all the important Office applications, and a high level of protection for your data.

Why was Office 365 renamed?

In order to answer this question, it’s necessary to look at the wider market situation, or more specifically Google, which is one of Microsoft’s biggest competitors in private and business cloud-based software solutions.

While Google had already bundled its services Google Workspace, and Google One under one cloud umbrella, Microsoft Office was still trying to shake the image of an office software package. With the rebrand as Microsoft 365, the company is making it clear that the business, cloud and productivity solution is available to everyone and offers more efficiency, networking and ease of use in both private and professional settings.

What stays, what goes?

Software adaptions usually result in some sort of change. But in the case of Microsoft, the good news is: There are hardly any changes. Microsoft apps such as Word, Excel, OneDrive, PowerPoint or Exchange Server are now only available as part of Microsoft 365 instead of through Office 365. Existing subscription packages and Microsoft 365 pricing won’t change.

Apart from a ‘new’ name, one of the most noticeable changes is the Office logo. Introduced in October 2022, the Microsoft 365 logo is a hexagonal blue-purple loop reminiscent of the Möbius strip. The Office branding will disappear from Microsoft’s web apps and retail stores. Microsoft 365 will contain features that are familiar as well as some that are brand new. The latter are said to include an application for discovering and pinning tools, a tagging function for user-defined tags, and the new AI image generator DALL-E 2.

Tip

Not sure which Office version you have? Find out which version you’re using by clicking on ‘File’ and then ‘Account’ in a Word document. It only takes a few steps.

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