Microsoft: Whatever you do, don’t call it Office Online

Microsoft on Wednesday said it would stop using the word “online” to describe its online versions of Office, instead referring to the online suite as “on the web,” “in a browser,” or maybe “for the web.”

The branding change came from the same company that once called its single sign-on solution Microsoft Wallet, then Passport, then .Net Passport, then Microsoft Passport Network, then Windows Live ID, then more simply “Microsoft account.” (Passport was resurrected for Windows 10 as the name for part of its two-factor authentication; the label was dumped a second time in a branding consolidation with Microsoft Hello.)

“The official product name for what was previously referred to as ‘Office Online’ is now simply ‘Office,'” Bill Doll, a senior product marketing manager, wrote in a post to a company blog. “We have also discontinued use of the ‘Online’ branding with each of the apps, so ‘Word Online’ is now ‘Word,’ ‘Excel Online’ is now ‘Excel,’ etc.”

Doll said the change stems from the fact that because Office now has apps on multiple platforms, “It no longer makes sense to use any platform-specific sub-brands.”

Even so, Microsoft will continue to refer to “platform-specific sub-brands,” such as “Office for Mac” or “Office for Android.”

Rather than tag the web version of, say, Word, as “Word Online” or Office overall as “Office Online,” Microsoft may dub those as “Word for the web,” “Office on the web,” “Word on” or “Office in a browser,” Doll said.

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