Microsoft moves one step closer to Office Online branding [Update]

A few weeks ago, rumors hit the Internet that Microsoft was going to rebrand their free Office Web Apps to Office Online just after the company launched a new UI for the apps. Now a new web page on Microsoft's Office site has gone live that flat out shows the Office Online brand and compares its features to the paid consumer subscription versions of Office.

The page shows that Office Online is definitely the bare bones choice compared to the $9.99 a month Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 University, which costs $79.99 for four years for college students. Like Office Web Apps, Office Online will have free version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. It also shows 7GB of free online storage, presumably via SkyDrive/OneDrive, which is the offer Microsoft gives to anyone who wants to use that service for free.

So far. Microsoft has yet to make any formal announcement about the Office Online rebranding but ZDNet speculates that the company will make it official as part of the next major Office update, code named Office 16. Indeed, the URL of the web page has "O16" as part of its address; Microsoft has announced it plans to release a service pack for the stand alone Office 2013 sometime in the first quarter of 2014.

Update: Microsoft has now removed the Office Online comparison web page.

Source: Microsoft via ZDNet | Image via Microsoft

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13 Comments

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Microsoft branding and naming conventions are a mess. So many chops and changes, they really don't have and use a standard for product naming or product iteration.

I think the product names are important, its part of a brand and an image. Random product name changes shows that the company, any company, does not have it all together and that they don't have direction.

Look at Windows version names for example, 3.11, Windows 95, 98, XP, Windows 2000, Windows 7... all over the place.

So any correlation between Windows naming scheme changes and sales? Or how many have gotten confused and bought a different version of the OS than the one they set out to purchase? In this case it's not even an app to be installed, just a website. I doubt most people even give a second look at their browser's titlebar when using this service.

@Romero 'So any correlation between Windows naming scheme changes and sales?'

I don't know about sales numbers, I don't expect there was confusion. I am saying that changes in naming schemes shows that any company who has not decided on a product naming convention has a problem with vision and direction. Considering MS and Windows.. should we name our OS based on version numbers or the year of release? Has Microsoft made a decision? Who knows? Should they have by now? Yes.

Edited by derekaw, Feb 11 2014, 10:49am :

Is Office Online not going to work with Windows Phones? The checkmark for smartphones is missing in that area, and you would think at least Windows Phone gets it for free (currently, it doesn't even count as the 5 devices you put it on).

Quikboy said,
Is Office Online not going to work with Windows Phones? The checkmark for smartphones is missing in that area, and you would think at least Windows Phone gets it for free (currently, it doesn't even count as the 5 devices you put it on).

Office online only refers to the web apps. Don't know why you'd want to use the web apps on the phone when you have the software built in...

siah1214 said,
Don't know why you'd want to use the web apps on the phone when you have the software built in...

I have to use the web apps all the time because the built in Office on WP8 doesn't include a print view...

Was not Office 16 supposed to be the next version of the Suite? The Metrofied one? Or was the Metro one part of the Gemini update? It seems a little bit early for Office 16...

Does this mean my iPhone SkyDrive app will become obsolete? It says not accessible on iPhones for the Office Online version.

Also, you can always download and save your documents, so Offline use should be checked on Office Online, unless they are doing away with downloading your own files.

Otherwise, it seems the same. I love my SkyDrive account, and my students use it daily.

ccoltmanm said,
Does this mean my iPhone SkyDrive app will become obsolete? It says not accessible on iPhones for the Office Online version.

No, The checkbox is for the mobile apps of Office. SkyDrive/OneDrive has a seperate app.
ccoltmanm said,
Also, you can always download and save your documents, so Offline use should be checked on Office Online, unless they are doing away with downloading your own files.

Of cause you can download and upload files to/from SkyDrive/OneDrive. The difference is that with Office 365 you have a desktop application which can open offline files directly, while with Office online you have to upload it before you can edit and afterwards download it.