Microsoft Taps FastTrack To Lure Box, Dropbox Users to OneDrive

Microsoft this week launched a OneDrive for Business switch deal in a bid to steal away customers from some of its biggest online storage competitors, as well as collaborators.

Starting Tuesday, qualified users of Box, Dropbox or Google Drive can use OneDrive for Business free of charge "for the remaining term of their existing contract," Microsoft said in an announcement. The offer runs from Feb. 6 to June 30 of this year, and is open to businesses that make "a minimum 500 user commitment" and are not current Office 365 or OneDrive for Business customers.

The deal is facilitated by Microsoft FastTrack, a partner program that helps with the initial consultations and planning for software migrations to Office 365 and other Microsoft Online Services.

Microsoft's announcement was notable for its full-on marketing attack on the Box, Dropbox and Google Drive online storage and collaboration offerings. A brochure (PDF) published by Microsoft includes a comparison chart showing their shortcomings compared with OneDrive for Business. Microsoft's main point seems to be that Box, Dropbox and Google Drive lack certain Office app collaboration capabilities.

Ironically, Microsoft's partnerships with Box, Dropbox and Google Drive typically have centered on adding Office app collaboration features to those storage and file sharing services.

Microsoft built REST-based APIs so that its online storage partners could add those Office Apps document collaboration capabilities. After an initial bumpy ride, competitors such as Box described Microsoft as being "partner-friendly." Last year, Microsoft Teams was made capable of integrating with third-party cloud storage and file sharing services from Box, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox and Google Drive.

Microsoft's announcement touted OneDrive for Business' progress against the competition, citing Gartner and Forrester reports, as well as some customer wins. OneDrive for Business is actually improved, too, with recent feature additions such as Files Restore, synchronization improvements and a new Sync Client.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.