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Microsoft Office Online Apps Get Box Integration

Office Online, Microsoft's browser-based suite of applications, now features integration with the Box cloud storage service.

Announced by both companies on Tuesday, the integration will make it possible to open and edit Office Online document files (Excel, PowerPoint and Word) from Box using a browser. Users will see an "Open With" button in Box to access Office Online files, a Box blog post explained. In addition, the integration effort will make it easier to save Office Online document files back to the Box storage service, according to a Microsoft blog post.

The two companies also are collaborating on Box-like sharing of files in Office Online via a new "Share" button, according to Box.

The idea is to make it easier for end users to use a browser on any device to edit and store Office Online files. Box claims that its storage service currently houses "over a billion Word, Excel and PowerPoint files."

These new integration capabilities are getting rolled out to end users starting Tuesday, a Box spokesperson stated via e-mail. Box indicated in a press release that "the integration will be available to Box business customers with an Office 365 license and to all Box personal users," but the timeline wasn't described.

In addition to the browser integration work, the two companies also plan to collaborate on "integration with native Office clients on iOS, Android, and Windows," according to the Box blog.

The collaboration is enabled, in part, by Microsoft's Office 365 Cloud Storage Partner program and open APIs. Microsoft has a similar collaboration effort with Dropbox, another storage services provider.

Microsoft has its own OneDrive and OneDrive for Business storage services that compete with the services offered by Box and Dropbox. However, spreading the use of Office apps appears to be a higher objective.

About the Author

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

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