Microsoft Office 365: Cynical rebrand or future of collaboration?

What is it really, and why should you care?

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Office logo (Microsoft)

This week Microsoft announced its Office 365 initiative. What does it mean for businesses, large and small? Some have described Office 365 as a rebranding exercise. But that's not really it. Others would have you believe that it's "Office in the cloud." But that not quite right, either. So what is it, and why should you care? Firstly, it's a program to tidy up a collection of Microsoft brands into one super-brand. Now Microsoft hasn't had a stellar reputation for coherent branding recently. It seems that its attempts are either:

  1. applied inconsistently (e.g., the spate of "Live" products),

  2. meaningless (what is "Forefront" supposed to mean?), or

  3. just plain confusing ("Exchange hosted services" is not the hosted service running Exchange!)

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