A new report indicates that Microsoft is prepping to rebrand its Office Web Apps to Office Online, concurrent with the just-announced rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive. And if this new brand sounds awfully familiar, that's because Office Online was in fact the original name of the Office web site where users could download document templates, clip art, and the like.
News of the Office Online rebranding comes courtesy of Mary Jo Foley, who published screenshots showing the new branding. These screenshots originated with Yan Zhu, the founder of livesino.net, though it doesn't appear he's published them on his own site for some reason.
And there's even a bit of mystery to this story, which helps confirm the veracity of it. You may recall that Microsoft last week updated the Office Web Apps, and that I published before and after shots of what Microsoft said would be the new Outlook.com/SkyDrive shared navigational header:
That (after) shot was in the Microsoft blog post that announced the Office Web Apps changes, but it's since been removed from the post, as has the description of the navigational header.
According to Foley, Microsoft will rebrand Office Web Apps as Office Online and will likewise rebrand each Office Web App using the same naming convention, so Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online and OneNote Online.
I do have one question, however. Microsoft currently has an online service called Outlook.com, which is its consumer-oriented email solution (and Hotmail successor). And it has an online service called Outlook Web App, which is its Exchange Online-based email solution (and available in business versions of, among other places.) So ... which one will be called Outlook Online?
Knowing Microsoft, it could be both.
One thing I did notice when I originally published the Outlook.com/SkyDrive shared navigational header last week was that the Outlook.com tile had been renamed: Today, it says "Outlook.com" (which I think is confusing), but in the updated coming version, it's been changed to read "Outlook". Seriously. Whatever they do, Microsoft needs to get its Outlook naming figured out.