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Dropbox and Microsoft form surprise partnership for Office integration

Microsoft is teaming up with Dropbox in something of a surprise move, to more closely integrate Dropbox into Office.

The ‘strategic partnership’, will improve interoperability between Dropbox/Dropbox for Business and Office, across desktop, mobile and the web.

The deal is something of a surprise partnership, with Microsoft having its own OneDrive and OneDrive for Business offerings which compete with the Dropbox offerings. However, Microsoft notes data and mobile usage is exploding globally and Dropbox is home to more than 35 billion Office files.

When Dropbox users who use Office select ‘edit’ while viewing a document in Dropbox, they will be presented with the appropriate Office app for editing. Changes are saved back to Dropbox.

Dropbox files can be accessed from Office apps, and new or edited files can be shared from the Office apps using Dropbox’s sharing functionality.

The new features will be rolling out to all Dropbox users on iOS and Android in the next few weeks, and will be extended to the web in the first half of 2015, with integrations between the Dropbox website and Office Online.

Dropbox will also make its application available on Windows Phone and tablet platforms in the coming months.

The capabilities are available from within the Dropbox and Office apps on tablets and phones, and will be rolled out to the web applications soon.

Microsoft says the deal will ‘give people more freedom in how they work’.

“In our mobile-first and cloud-first world, people need easier ways to create, share and collaborate regardless of their device or platform,” says Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.

“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.”

Drew Houston, Dropbox CEO and co-founder, says people have embraced Office and Dropbox. “Our partnership with Microsoft will make it easier than ever to collaborate seamlessly across these platforms, giving people the freedom to get more done.”

The capabilities will be available to Office users with a Dropbox account. Dropbox for Business customers will need an Office 365 subscription.

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