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Last week we announced Microsoft Office 365, our next generation cloud productivity service. The bulk of the excitement has been about what the service means for our customers big and small, but it's been fun seeing the buzz created by the new name (my favorite being the suggestions about what to do on February 29th!).
As you've likely read, Office 365 brings together Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online as well as Microsoft Office desktop software and Web apps. There's a lot of power under this particular hood and it's delivered through the cloud. Was it possible to find a single unifying name that all at once would 1) Heighten expectations of the existing productivity brands at Microsoft; and 2) embody the deeper relationship we can hold with our customers as a result of the cloud delivery model?
During our search, my team and I opened ourselves up to literally hundreds of possible new names. We completed customer research, spoke with industry analysts - even our families weighed in. But over and over again, we came back to notion that no brand more so than Office signifies productivity across individuals, businesses and governments alike. With more than 750 million people using Office on the desktop, there's no doubt it's a brand that millions worldwide already know, love and trust. Why mess with that?
The 365 extension embodies the idea that the cloud connects us more closely to our customers than ever before. The brand promise extends from productivity as we know it today to a promise to help more people collaborate, communicate and get work done from anywhere, 24/7, 365 days a year.
This means keeping the service up-to-date with the very latest in productivity innovations. It means investing billions of dollars and tens of thousands of people to work on cloud services. Companies from GAP to GlaxoSmithKline and Starbucks to Starwood; schools from Dartmouth to the University of Bologna; government agencies from the State of California to the City of New York; small businesses from Clean Power to Pinkberry and thousands more count on us to make their mission-critical systems a priority 365 days a year, so they can focus on educating the next generation or inventing the next breakthrough drug. The new brand has to stand up to the commitment we're making to our customers.
Office = rich, familiar, trusted gold standard of productivity
365 = available to everyone, when and where you need it
Our new approach to cloud productivity applications means that we can deliver the best of everything we know about productivity to our customers in an always-up-to-date cloud service every single day of the year.
Thanks for reading!
-Allen, Office 365 Product Manager
P.S.: we're there for you during leap years as well :)
Some other great analyst blogs to read on what others have had to say about our new brand:
I wondered about the name as well, especially given the British company with the same name.
I like the name, as it shows the idea of full availability of my business to me. Looking forward to seeing and testing the suite online.
Allen, is the availability of the beta already planned?
1) If you have to do this much explanation of your branding – you have failed (period). Either the brand resonates and communicates what you want it to or you're explaining it in blogs. This is akin to explaining why a joke is a funny. At the point that you do, it isn't. 2) When you’ve had some recent highly visible outages, trying to communicate your high availability value through clever branding seems trite and a little tone deaf. www.zdnet.com/.../7302. 3) There’s a danger to having nearly unlimited resources and long timelines. You are allowed to entertain “hundreds” of options that introduce hundreds of awful ideas and blow out your signal to noise ratio. Then it allows you to try to build a consensus among customers, industry analysts and ?your family?. Better to have a tight timeline, reduced resources and 3 people with skill in the field. I instantly think of Microsoft branding the iPod:www.youtube.com/watch. It feels like you've done the same thing to BPOS. 4) “With more than 750 million people using Office on the desktop, there's no doubt it's a brand that millions worldwide already know, love and trust. Why mess with that?” Indeed. And then you proceed to mess with it. Thank God Office.Me didn't get past a focus group. 5) Smiley emoticons don’t make this: a) likable b) cute or c) ok.
Besides voice/voicemail, SMS, IM/Presence, and other services, it will be great to also see fax services integrated such that clients can subscribe to and get virtual fax numbers for a true unified mailbox experience and be able to send and receive faxes from within Office Outlook and Outlook Web App. Also please speed up tying these services to Windows Phone 7 and make it the premier enterprise mobile device that it is.
@Piotr: Thanks, we like it to. You hit our thoughts right on the head!
Great name! Congratulations
I like it too. Although it may have been easier to stick with Office Live, 365 makes a stronger statement.
@techieg, I'm guessing but I don't think we've heard the full story on Lync Online just yet.
@Steven thanks for sharing your opinion. Sorry you don’t prefer the new brand. We feel really positive about it and the market reaction and interest has been really positive. Given you are ‘Steve Jobs’, you’ll be happy to know we announced Mac Office 2011 today which will also work great with Office 365! Sharing the love :)!
@Jeff Paine and JohnCZ: Thanks!
@techieg: More details will be coming on your question, please check back in.
@ Steven P. Jobs - I pretty much knew what Office365 stands for, its a no-brainer and really only a not so bright person will not figure that out at first glance. Really there is no datacenter without its downtime, which is why nobody states 100% uptimes, and if you feel you will host on-premise then you are even way lower than 99.9% uptime and without financial backing.
Office Live sucked as a name. Office 365 is excellent.
Hey Allen: this is awesome. Is that really Steve Jobs? That was really funny. The name and the product rocks but I'm sad that the domain name is owned by someone else. I think you should bid for it.
MS- keep rocking. You guys are the best.
MVP Exchange Server
<p>Microsoft recently announced a new product, Office 365 which will allow users to access Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online (Instant Messenger) over the inter ...
While I am really happy that it's being offered, and am really looking forward to joining the beta, I'm sorry to have to say that I really don't like the 365 part of the name. It feels unimaginative, uninspiring and worse... it reminds me I rarely (never?) get a day where I'm not thinking about my "Office" and work in general.
I really can't believe that in the "hundreds" of other options apparently considered, there wasn't something else that shone out.
I'd have even preferred Office360 and in fact the first two times I tried to log on to the site, that's exactly what I found I had (automatically) typed!
@Ratish: Thanks for the props! Love those MVPs.
@The Simpsoid: glad to hear you are excited by what we have to offer, sorry your not a fan of the name. I guess nothing really can appeal to everyone, but from my end (leading our social/blogging efforts) is has so far been really well received. It's both a great opportunity and a great challenge to be involved in so many areas with Office 365, I think the more peole start to see the amazing things they are able to do with it, they will start to agree. Thanks for commenting!
Microsoft seems to like the three-sixty naming scheme. To me this name doesn't have any appeal. It sounds too much like the video game console... Office work isn't supposed to have any "fun" element to it. It's supposed to be work. For a company hearing a name like that makes you think of gaming. We'll be sticking with "Open Office" in our offices. Free and just as good if not better...