Microsoft Office was first released in 1990, and aside from Windows, it’s probably the Microsoft product the general public has the most experience with. Individual apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook will all continue to exist, but starting now, the Office brand name these apps have all been grouped under will begin to go away, to be replaced by “Microsoft 365.”
The change will come first for the online Office apps at Office.com, which will make the switch in November. In January of 2023, the Office app built into Windows 10 and Windows 11 and the Office mobile apps for iOS and Android will follow suit. When updated, the apps will pick up the Microsoft 365 branding and a new logo, seen above, which still looks kind of like an O, but in a different way from how the Office logo looks a bit like an O.
Microsoft’s FAQ page on the transition says that Microsoft 365 will encompass the existing Office apps plus OneDrive and Microsoft Teams “and so much more.” The company also points out that the Office brand will continue to exist, at least for a while. Existing Office 365 accounts aren’t being renamed (yet), and Microsoft will still sell perpetually licensed versions of Word, Excel, and the other Office apps as Office 2021. The company has previously pledged to offer at least one more of these perpetually licensed Office suites, but at this point, we don’t know whether it will continue to be known as “Office” or if it, too, will pick up “Microsoft 365” branding in some way.
Office is just the latest Microsoft product to get a new name with “Microsoft” in it. Windows Defender, the platform’s built-in anti-malware scanner, came to be known as Microsoft Defender in mid-2019. This page is a branding cheat sheet for eight different Office, Azure, and Microsoft-branded products, seven of which also became some version of “Microsoft Defender.” Presumably, brands like Windows and Xbox are strong enough to resist being rebadged with “Microsoft OS” or “Microsoft Box,” but if the rebranding hammer came down on Office, there’s no telling what it will hit next.