Microsoft appears to be in the process of renaming at least one of its MSN-branded applications, MSN News, with its own Microsoft brand in what may only be the first of several steps back from the branding. The change was spotted in an update to the app’s beta channel, which Android users can sign up for in the Google Play Store by scrolling to the bottom of the app’s page – if beta slots are available. Interestingly enough, although a few small user interface tweaks have been made with the update and a new red Microsoft icon, the most easily noticed difference is in the app’s initial splash screen. That shows up when it’s first launched. That now announces the name change and reads, “Trusted news from the world’s best journalists.”
The current speculation about the change is that Microsoft is taking a step back from the MSN name, which is often viewed as a left-biased branding. In addition to presenting itself in a more favorable light to more potential subscribers and users, it’s also not unlikely that the company just wants to bring all of its services back under its original moniker. The latter move and the adjustments to the app’s U.I. do seem to bring quite a bit more consistency between the mobile app and the Windows 10 operating system the company is most well known for. However, as noted by the source, there have been fewer new applications and a reduction in the overall number of apps bearing the MSN name. Meanwhile, there are no other changes or new features added in the beta for the app. So, in any case, the change appears to be primarily centered around the branding itself.
It isn’t immediately clear whether or not the rebranding will extend to other Microsoft services and applications which currently bear the brand. Those are apps such as MSN Weather, MSN Sports, and MSN Money. If Microsoft is simply trying to distance itself or tone back the use of “MSN” then changes similar to these will almost certainly arrive in those in the near future. As with News, the change will also probably hit beta channels for those apps as well. No timeframe has been revealed with regard to when this app will roll out to the wider, general userbase.