Office 2016 Branches Renamed to Channels, Deferred Channel Now Available

Office 2016 Branches Renamed to Channels, Deferred Channel Now Available

Office, know thyself.

Microsoft has now announced that the latest build for Office 365 for Windows is now available for Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Business, Project Pro for Office 365 and Visio Pro for Office 365 customers.

But, there’s a sub-announcement that is probably more important. Embedded in the declaration is a name change for what was originally called delivery Branches. Microsoft will no longer be using this term to describe releases for Office, but instead refer to them as the Channel builds. For example, Microsoft describes Deferred Channel like this:

The Deferred Channel allows organizations to choose an update schedule that reduces the frequency of feature changes for the Windows desktop apps, enabling IT admins and developers to have more time between releases to validate Office against their line-of-business applications, add-ins and macros.

So, really just a name change. Could this mean that Windows will be getting a similar change or is this change to help better differentiate Office from Windows? Personally, I think we’ve hammered pretty hard on what Branches are and most people get it by now. Why change so deep into the stream? This will only serve to add to the confusion, however Microsoft says the name change is based on feedback…

Today, we are further refining that update model and—based on feedback—are renaming service “Branches” to “Channels.”

Yep…I’m sure the name of the delivery system has been a hot topic among Office customers <sarcasm>. As of this month, the “Channel” branding is complete and spans the entire Office Branch system. Here’s how the new names shakeout:

  • New: Current Channel = Old: Current Branch
  • New: First Release for Current Channel = Old: First Release for Current Branch
  • New: Deferred Channel = Old: Current Branch for Business
  • New: First Release for Deferred Channel = Old: First Release for Current Branch for Business

The announcement goes on to say that…

While this naming change may seem small, we believe it will make a big difference in helping customers understand the purpose and cadence of the different delivery vehicles.

Big "difference” is not the phrase I would’ve used there.

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