Project Osaka preview screen

Microsoft’s database sharing app has a strange history. It started as CollabDB in 2015, before being quietly renamed to Project Osaka. The app has always been intended as a list sharing program with ties to Access.

Despite the sudden and quiet name change, Osaka seemed to be off to a good start. Microsoft launched a private preview recently, with a public preview expected to follow.

However, the company announced today that Project Osaka will not be continued:

“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.”

Why Discontinue?

Unfortunately, the official statement doesn’t give any reasons for the retirement and spokespersons have been quiet so far. At this point, we can only speculate.

One theory is that Microsoft is looking to de-clutter its Office 365 offerings. There are lots of different applications that aren’t too easy to differentiate.Another app could be seen as furthering this issue.

Of course, it’s possible the Redmond giant has found another solution. Integration inside the Office suite would reduce the need for a web portal. Similar functionality could come back in the future, either inside Office or with another name change.

Whatever the case, current users of Osaka should be cautious. The service will shut down at the end of March, and you’ll want to migrate your data before then.