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Microsoft Shifting Away from Office 365 Brand Name in April

Microsoft on Monday announced coming product naming changes, where "Office 365" is mostly getting replaced by the "Microsoft 365" brand.

The product name changes are mostly happening for small-to-medium business users of these products. For some inexplicable reason, Microsoft plans to continue to use the Office 365 name for users of Office 365 for Enterprise, Office 365 for Firstline Workers, Office 365 for Education and Office 365 for Government products.

Here's Microsoft's plan to swap the names of the products for small-to-medium business users, which will take effect on April 21, 2020:

  • Office 365 Business Essentials will become Microsoft 365 Business Basic.
  • Office 365 Business Premium will become Microsoft 365 Business Standard.
  • Microsoft 365 Business will become Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
  • Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will both become Microsoft 365 Apps. Where necessary we will use the "for business" and "for enterprise" labels to distinguish between the two.

The capabilities of the products aren't changing. It's only a change in the names, which Microsoft described as a "natural evolution." The rationale is that the products are connected to various services and are increasingly getting artificial intelligence capabilities.

The name changes possibly are only important for IT pros if they use System Center Configuration Manager (Microsoft Endpoint Manager) to manage Office 365 ProPlus. Here's one reason, per this document:

If you use an automatic deployment rule (ADR) to deploy updates by using Configuration Manager, you'll need to make changes to your ADRs if they rely on the "Title" property. That's because the name of update packages in the Microsoft Update Catalog is changing.

The new name in the Microsoft Update Catalog by April 21 will be "Microsoft 365 Apps Update," instead of "Office 365 Client Update," the document explained.

Office Deployment Tool users won't have to make any changes because "the product ID will remain as O365ProPlusRetail," the document added.

The Microsoft 365 brand used to signify that organizations were buying into an upper-tier bundle of services, including Windows 10, various Office 365 applications (including services like Exchange Online and SharePoint Online) and the Enterprise plus Mobility Suite (including Microsoft Intune, Azure Active Directory Premium and various Azure security services). Now, with the name change, organizations will perhaps have to double-check what they are getting.

For instance, products like Office 365 Business Essentials (to be called Microsoft 365 Business Basic in April) don't come with all of those extra Intune and Azure AD perks.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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