Microsoft’s web apps and services are spread across hundreds of different sites and domains, from the ancient live.com to the more cryptic login.microsoftonline.com. Microsoft now plans to unify many of them under one umbrella.
Microsoft explained in a blog post today, “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.”
Today, Microsoft announced that it is starting to move its online services to a single domain: cloud.microsoft. The company has owned the .microsoft top-level domain since 2015, but so far it has mostly just been used for redirects, like xbox.microsoft or search.microsoft. The company says using its own domain has “anti-spoofing and integrity benefits” compared to generic domain endings, like .com or .net. Google also has its own top-level domain that it uses for some sites and services, like blog.google.
Microsoft plans for each of its services to be subdomains under that domain, such as outlook.cloud.microsoft or onedrive.cloud.microsoft. However, the company only plans to use the unified domain for “authenticated user-facing Microsoft 365 experiences.” Sites like Xbox.com and most of Microsoft.com will likely stay where they are today.
The change won’t matter all that much for most people, as Microsoft says that “in most cases, no customer action will be needed” — there will probably be redirects as needed. However, IT administrators might need to update their networks to allow the new domains, which is why Microsoft is announcing the change today. If you have custom network rules with services like NextDNS or AdGuard, those might need to be updated as well.
Microsoft says its new online services will launch on the new domain, and it will slowly migrate existing services like OneDrive and Outlook over time.