Microsoft has announced a significant change in how users connect to its numerous Microsoft 365 apps and services. Previously, accessing products such as Teams, Office apps, Outlook, and others involved navigating through various domain names, leading to a complex and convoluted experience for users.
In a blog post published earlier this week, Microsoft acknowledged, “As Microsoft cloud services have grown over the years, the domain space they live on has grown as well — into the hundreds. Over time, this fragmentation has created increasing challenges for end-user navigation, administrative simplicity, and the development of cross-app experiences.”
Microsoft has owned the .microsoft top-level domain since 2015, but it has been primarily used for redirects, such as https://www.xbox.com/en-US or search.microsoft. The company believes that using its own domain will provide “anti-spoofing and integrity benefits” in comparison to generic domain endings, like .com or .net. Similarly, Google also uses its own top-level domain for specific sites and services, such as blog.google.
Consolidating all of its services under a unified domain: cloud.microsoft will benefit end-users by reducing sign-in prompts, redirects, and delays when navigating across apps, while also reducing the complexity of allow lists for administrators. Moreover, this change will also enable better and tighter integration across the Microsoft 365 ecosystem by streamlining development and improving the performance of cross-app experiences for developers.
According to Microsoft, the change is unlikely to have a significant impact on most individuals, as they anticipate that “in most instances, no customer action will be required.” Redirects may be employed as necessary. However, IT administrators may need to modify their networks to accommodate the new domains, which is why Microsoft is announcing the change now. If you have custom network rules with services like NextDNS or AdGuard, you may need to update them as well. Microsoft has stated that existing services such as OneDrive and Outlook will be gradually relocated over time.
Our take on the news
Microsoft’s decision to streamline its Microsoft 365 apps and services under a single domain name represents a significant step towards providing a better user experience and tighter integration across its ecosystem. This move will enable users to access the services they need to do their work more seamlessly, while also making it easier for developers to build cross-app experiences.
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