New Microsoft 365 app will try to do what the Office app never could

Microsoft has revealed that the cloud-based version of its Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft 365, will be ported to a single desktop and mobile application.

The move, announced at the company’s annual Ignite event, will put an end to the Office.com web portal from November 2022, with the existing Microsoft Office apps on desktop and mobile being phased out in January 2023. 

The move will affect all Microsoft 365 users across enterprise, education and personal subscription packages.

New Microsoft 365 features

Microsoft was quick to clear up any misconceptions about the change, confirming that Microsoft Office will continue to exist as a standalone product that users can choose to purchase outright. 

Existing users won’t even have to lift a finger, as the existing Officeapplications will update to the new app automatically, and users will keep their account configurations.

While the move to a single application seems to be purely to keep Microsoft’s cloud office software offerings well-organized for users, it also used the announcement to tease a raft of new features that will be coming to the existing Microsoft 365 apps before being ported over.

For example, Microsoft 365 now offers the My Content hub – a central location for all content created by or shared with an individual – to all users. The feature was previously only available to business customers.

A custom tagging system has also been made available for business users, allowing them to organize content as they see fit, while a new feed will recommend content based on factors like who they work with and what they commonly work on together.

Many of these features are fundamentals unlikely to break ground. A feed for content recommendations, and the My Content hub, for example, are variations of functionality already available as part of Google Workspace.

With the new Microsoft 365 app, the company has sidestepped the problem of encouraging users to adopt the new way of accessing the service, by simply removing all the old ones. 

It’s a smart business move, sure to clear up any confusion still out there about what Microsoft 365 is and can do for all kinds of users. Whether the app really will be more convenient than the current offerings remains to be seen.

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