Microsoft and Dropbox ink partnership for Office integration

Mobile Office users will soon be able to access and edit documents stored on their Dropbox accounts.

Office integration

Dropbox users will now be able to access and edit their stored documents right in Microsoft's mobile Office suite in the Office for iOS and Android app, coming in updates over the next few weeks.

The new Dropbox integration comes with a larger strategic partnership between the two companies, a tacit admission from Microsoft that its OneDrive cloud storage service is having difficulty competing in the crowded online storage space.

Users who use Dropbox and Microsoft Office on their tablets and smartphones (and soon, on the web, too) will be able to:

  • Access Dropbox from Office apps including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to get to files and folders faster
  • Open and edit Office files directly from Dropbox and sync them across devices
  • Share new or edited files from the Office apps using simple Dropbox sharing functionality

Integration with the web versions of Office will come in the first half of next year, and Dropbox will make its apps available on the Windows phone and tablet platforms in the next few months.

Dropbox says it hosts an impressive 35 billion Office files, and with a large number of small- and medium-sized businesses using the storage company (and some enterprise customers as well), the integration is a big deal.

The integration will be available to all Office users who have a standard Dropbox account, while Dropbox for Business users will need Office 365 subscription licenses to take advantage of the service.

Previously, Microsoft's Office for iOS applications only could open files stored directly on the devices or on Microsoft's OneDrive storage service (a Dropbox competitor), so opening Office documents stored on Dropbox in the Office for iOS apps was an annoying multi-step process.

Now, Dropbox and Office will play together much more nicely, akin to how it works on a PC or Mac with the native Dropbox sync app installed.

"People around the world have embraced Office and Dropbox to empower the way they live and work today," said Drew Houston, CEO and co-founder of 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 updates should come to Office for iOS in the next few weeks.

What are your thoughts about this integration? Let us know in the discussion thread below.