Microsoft may offer its own online storage in the form of OneDrive, but that didn't stop it from partnering with Dropbox — probably the leader in the online file-syncing space — last fall. The first fruits of that partnership allowed those using Office apps on iOS or Android to link their Dropbox accounts up for easier access to any Office files stored there. Now, Microsoft is ready to announce further integration with Dropbox: as of today, you'll be able to view your Dropbox documents when using Microsoft's free Office Online apps.
This means that if Dropbox is your preferred place to store files, you'll be able to access and edit them when using either Microsoft's mobile apps or its web apps. Until now, there's been a bit of a disconnect in that you've been able to access and edit those Office docs on mobile, but not through your browser, something that's been done away with now in Dropbox's ongoing quest to support as many services as possible so people can access their files no matter what platform or tool they're using.
"Our philosphy is to give people the ability to work with the tools they want," says Dropbox's Ilya Fushman, "and Office is clearly the world's biggest productivity suite." Indeed, there's good incentive for Dropbox to work closely with Microsoft — Fushman said that more than 35 billion Office documents were stored in Dropbox when the partnership was announced last fall. He also noted that Dropbox integration was the number one request from users of Microsoft's mobile and web apps when they launched, making this collaboration a pretty natural one.
Microsoft and Dropbox's mutually beneficial partnership continues
Now that Office Online and Dropbox are all linked up, users will be able to either find files through the Office Online interface, or simply find them through Dropbox's web site — either way, they'll open up in Microsoft's web apps. Of course, Office files saved in your Dropbox locally on your computer will open in Microsoft's Office apps, just as they always have.
This isn't a groundbreaking change, but if you're one of the millions of people out there who uses Dropbox, you no longer have to decide whether you should store your Office files in Dropbox or OneDrive — you can keep everything in Dropbox and Office will see it, whether you're on mobile or on the web. It's a logical extension of the mutually beneficial partnership the two companies started last year —millions of people are storing Office documents in Dropbox, so it's good to see the two companies making it easier to use them.