Dropbox and Microsoft partner for Office 365 storage: What does this mean for OneDrive?

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

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Cloudy storage provider Dropbox has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft whereby the service is being integrated more closely with Microsoft Office 365.

Dropbox customers will be able to access their accounts directly from Office apps, edit Office files from the Dropbox app, as well as sharing Dropbox links from Office.

In a blog post on the Dropbox website, head of product Ilya Fushman wrote: “We know that much of the world relies on a combination of Dropbox and Microsoft Office to get work done. That’s why we’re partnering with Microsoft to help you do more on your phones, tablets, and the web.”

The new features will be rolled out onto iOS and Android users, with Dropbox also confirming plans for a Windows Phone and Windows tablet app.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, has long been using the term ‘mobile-first’ and ‘cloud-first’ in his missives, almost for continuity now as much as anything else. In this instance, it’s more about enterprise and collaboration. “In our mobile-first and cloud-first world, people need easier ways to create, share and collaborate regardless of their device or platform,” he said.

“Together, Microsoft and Dropbox will provide our shared customers with flexible tools that put them at the centre for the way they live and work today.”

The news has come as a bit of a shock to many commentators, but it’s an interesting partnership from both ends. Dropbox has been looking for more of an enterprise focus, especially as it’s been losing out in that battle to Box, who has gained customer wins in the form of General Electric in recent months.

Similarly, Microsoft would be relishing this partnership as it gives the tech giant assurances it will “play nicely” with competitors. Gartner analyst Jeff Mann told the Guardian: “Both of them decided that they’re not really a threat. If they can work with each other, against the common enemy Google, primarily, or to some extent Box, or the other competitors that are in this market.”

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