Microsoft is giving the free online versions of Word, Excel and other Office programs a new name and a dedicated online home, aiming to raise their profile in the competitive market for document creation and editing.
Previously known as Office Web Apps, the online services will now be called “Office Online.”
“We heard from customers that the inclusion of Apps in our name was confusing,” explained Microsoft’s Amanda Lefebvre in a post announcing the name change this morning. “Are they something I install? Do I go to an app store to get them? No, to use them all you need is a web browser. Ah! You say. So it’s like Office, online. Yes, exactly. Office Online.”
The company has also turned Office.com into a portal for launching and accessing online documents. Previously users could only access the services through OneDrive (previously SkyDrive) or SharePoint. Those options remain in place, but the dedicated landing page aims to boost the exposure of the Office programs as they compete against Google Apps and other free rivals.
Microsoft Office overall remains a mainstay of Microsoft’s business. Separately, the company has signaled that it plans to release Office for iPad, but there has been no official word yet on timing.