Microsoft drops its Office 365 'Project Osaka' app before it ever launched

One of Microsoft's growing stable of collaboration apps, 'Project Osaka,' seems to be going away before it got past the private preview stage.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Remember CollabDB? Microsoft quietly announced CollabDB, its latest list-sharing technology, back in 2015 and indicated it would be coming to Office 365.

What happened in the interim is something a few of us company watchers have been trying to piece together, amid Microsoft officials no comments.

Microsoft morphed CollabDB into "Project Osaka," which -- instead of being an Office list-sharing app -- became something focused on "table sharing." Osaka, which is currently in private preview, seems to have some roots in the Microsoft Access world.

Now, it appears Microsoft is deprecating the Project Osaka app before it ever actually launched. A message from earlier this week for those in the private Osaka preview says:

"Beginning today, we're winding down Project Osaka and it will be fully retired on March 31st, 2017. We understand that this transition won't be an easy one and we're working hard to make this process as easy as possible. Please see the instructions for migrating your data. We've enjoyed working with each of you and we have deep admiration for the things you've built. Thank you for using Project Osaka."

I asked Microsoft for more information on what Project Osaka users should do and whether there's an official successor to this app. No word back so far.

Microsoft is definitely very focused these days on collaboration tools of all kinds. But there is the very real possibility of customer confusion resulting from too many, not-so-well-differentiated options.

Update (February 6). Here's Microsoft's statement on Osaka from a spokesperson:

"CollabDB was renamed Project Osaka and is therefore the same project. Microsoft is always working on new experiences for our customers, some of which do not graduate beyond the experimental stage. In this instance, the teams decided to absorb the learnings from their work and carry that information forward to their next projects. All customers who were part of Project Osaka were contacted with instructions to ensure the transition process is as easy as possible prior to the retirement of the experiment on March 31st."

Microsoft wants AI to help, not replace humans:

Editorial standards