Dropbox and Microsoft Announce a Surprise Collaboration for Office App
Microsoft and Dropbox are surprisingly working together to closely integrate the cloud services into Office. The deal between the two rivals means users will be able to edit and share Office content across different devices and softwares.
“Access to Dropbox content popped as one of the very first [Office for iPad] requests that customers had,” explains Kirk Koenigsbauer, Head of Microsoft’s Office Engineering team. “They want access to where their content is. We’re doing it to make sure customers have a great experience.”
Under the partnership, Dropbox gets a prime space that is used by more than a billion people, and the potential to make an even bigger name for itself particularly in the business enterprises. Notably, Microsoft has its own cloud service called OneDrive which will co-exist with Dropbox in the Office for iPad apps, letting users natively browse, open and edit Office documents uploaded on Dropbox directly within the app.
“From our perspective, it is about users’ choice,” says Kirk Koenigsbauer. “Of course, we have a OneDrive service, which is quite differentiated — it works incredibly well for users. But there are also people who use Dropbox, and we want to provide that choice and flexibility.”
In turn, Dropbox is adding options to its mobile application to push users over to Microsoft Office to edit documents. If you’re on a mobile device that doesn’t have Office installed, you’ll be prompted to download the apps to edit, and any changes will sync back directly to Dropbox automatically. Microsoft Office for iPad and Android application, at present, requires an Office 365 subscription to edit documents.
“It’s really about creating a deep connection between Dropbox and Office,” says Ilya Fushman, Head of Product for Dropbox and Dropbox for Business. “We think this is a huge win for our users. We think this will result in the best possible experience for people trying to get work done, and trying to get work done on the go.” The move came just months after Dropbox unveiled its “Project Harmony” work to bring collaborative features to Microsoft Office. “We’re continuing that experience,” explains Fushman. “That experience is really about making it simple and easy to work on the desktop.” Most of the changes for which Dropbox is partnering up with Microsoft are focused on web and mobile.