After more than 30 years inhabiting our vocabulary and devices, Microsoft Office is retiring. This doesn’t mean that programs like Word and Excel are disappearing, but rather that the company’s toolset is getting a new, somewhat familiar name: Microsoft 365.
Microsoft announced the change at the Ignite conference on Wednesday. Over the next few months, Office.com, the Office mobile app, and the Office app for Windows will adopt the Microsoft 365 branding and get a new look and icons. Microsoft 365 is very similar to Microsoft Officealthough there is main differences. It is the biggest of them price—Microsoft 365 is a monthly subscription service and Microsoft Office is a one-time purchase and access to upgrades. People who subscribe to Microsoft 365 get the latest updates included in their plan, while those who use Microsoft Office must get the latest version of the software.
It was Microsoft Office released first 1990 – it has gone through many updates over the years – and has managed to remain dominant in the field of workplace software. Now that it’s retired, part of me wants to play a sad violin solo, although I think the new purple Microsoft 365 app logo is really cool.
For those who don’t want to say goodbye, Microsoft said it will still offer one-time purchases of programs like Word, Outlook and Excel for Office 2021 users and Office LTSC plans. I guess that’s what retirement at Microsoft is all about.
At the event, Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for modern work, also revealed that the Microsoft 365 app will come with a spate of new features. It will act as a hub for all user files across the company’s products, such as Word and PowerPoint, and will also allow folks to quickly access files shared in meetings.
Furthermore, the Microsoft exec added that the company was launching a feed in the Microsoft 365 app, which will allow users to see things such as their meetings of the day or updates from people they follow, in a nod to social media feeds.
“The new Microsoft 365 app is one part of our larger strategy and focus as a company on Microsoft 365 and is reflective of the innovation we’ve strived to deliver as work and life continue to evolve,” Spataro said in an emailed statement. “The new app serves as a hub for all the productivity apps Microsoft 365 offers and provides a simple, yet powerful experience for our customers as they navigate changing workstyles and collaboration patterns.”
Microsoft 365 will start rolling out to users in November, beginning with Office.com, according to Microsoft’s FAQ page. At the same time, changes will come to the Office application for Windows and mobile in January 2023.
Microsoft explained that the changes will apply to almost anyone who uses Office for work, school or personal use. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to do anything or anything will explode digitally on your end.
“Your existing account, profile, subscription or files will not be affected. The app will automatically update with the new icon and name, so keep an eye out for these changes in November and beyond,” the company said on its FAQ page.
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