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Microsoft Brings Dropbox Integration to Office Online Apps

As of Thursday, all users of Microsoft's Office Online Apps, including Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word, can now access files stored on Dropbox servers.

The integration is enabled via an interface from within each Office Online application. It also works in the other direction: Dropbox users can open and edit their Office Online files within the same browser they use to access Dropbox files.

Office Online users need to add their Dropbox accounts to Office Online to take advantage of the integration, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft and Dropbox previously announced the arrival of this product integration in an announcement late last year. Back then, the two companies also announced an integration partnership for native Office apps running on both Android and iOS devices, with an aim to facilitate file access, editing and sharing.

Microsoft might be thought of as a competitor with Dropbox because Microsoft has its own storage service, OneDrive. However, Microsoft's strategy seems to be more focused on making Office "sticky" for end users across various platforms. Microsoft also has a similar integration partnership with storage services provider Box. Dropbox, for its part, claims to store more than 35 billion Office files on its servers.

Office Online apps are pared-down, browser-based versions of the Microsoft Office suite of apps, and are free to use by consumers. They are also included as part of Microsoft's various Office 365 paid subscription plans for business use. Office Online apps lack a lot of the features found in the full Office suite, but they facilitate mobile access and collaboration. Microsoft's former name for Office Online apps was "Office Web Apps," but the company changed the name last year.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.