In the spirit of keeping your friends close, and your competitors closer, comes the news that Microsoft and Dropbox expanded their cloud office partnership today.
For the past 6 months we’ve been able to select an office doc in our Dropbox accounts and have it automatically open the right MS Office app, and today MS-DB did away with the need for the app entirely.
You can now open an office doc in Dropbox and use MS Office Online to edit it. Conversely, when working in Office Online you can tie in your Dropbox account to easily browse, open and edit office docs with Office Online. And yes, you can also create new docs in Office Online and then save them directly to your Dropbox account.
If you’ve been paying attention, today’s news won’t come as much of a surprise. Microsoft has been hinting for a while now that they were going to be more open to working closely with other companies.
As you might recall, Microsoft’s new web browser will be far more standards compliant than Internet Explorer largely due to MS releasing its death grip on the development process. Several companies, including Adobe, have already contributed code to Project Spartan.
Microsoft has also been working with Dropbox since last April, even though the two companies compete in several places. Both offer a cloud storage solution, and I was expecting that they would soon have competing online office suites. Dropbox has acquired a bunch of online collaboration and editing startups, but now it would appear that Dropbox is going to instead draw on Microsoft’s expertise and established market share.
And that makes sense. Dropbox is focused on providing a cloud storage service for business customers, many of which already pay for MS Office licenses. It’s easier to recruit a new customer if you already support their existing tools, after all.