Box for Office Online debuts for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files

Box also promised more integrations with native Office clients on iOS, Android, and Windows to follow later this year.


It wasn't long ago that Microsoft was usually on the receiving end of jokes made by Box executives, skewering the tech stalwart as a paragon for everything archaic (read: wrong) with software.

Those days are clearly over based on the new alliance forged between the Windows maker and cloud wunderkind.

Box for Office Online debuted on Tuesday, catering to enterprise users who want to store, edit and collaborate on Microsoft Office files in the cloud.

Of course, there is Microsoft's own Office 365 for these purposes, but the Redmond, Wash.-based company has repeatedly stressed its firm focus on the cloud and openness to more industry partnerships.

One of the most prominent examples of this strategy would be Microsoft's partnership with Salesforce.com, surprising many at the time in May 2014 about strengthened ties between the CRM giant and Office 365. (Things apparently became so intense that it sparked rumors and denied reports about a multi-billion dollar potential merger earlier this year.)

Although not quite eating crow, Box has demonstrated a change of heart of sorts in regard to Microsoft as well, suggesting it is both open to learning from and partnering with the corporation.

For starters, Box enlisted former Windows division chief Steven Sinofsky as an advisor in 2013.

Tuesday's unveiling also falls nearly a year after the introduction of initial integrations for Outlook and Office desktop products, eventually followed by integrations with Office for iPad and iPhone.

"Microsoft is taking a much more open stance. They are becoming more interoperable," remarked Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie, while reflecting on the collaboration a few months later onstage at the 2014 BoxWorks summit.

Box also recently established its inaugural membership in the Office 365 Cloud Storage Partner Program.

David Still, vice president of mobile products at Box, noted in a blog post on Tuesday that Office files account for nearly half of all content edited and uploaded to Box.

Still suggested that the availability of Box for Office Online could essentially translate any computer regardless of operating system into a workstation without having to install extra software.

"This not only makes working from anywhere more flexible and seamless, it also makes the collaboration process more secure, because it eliminates the need to repeatedly download files on different machines," Still continued.

Box for Office Online will be available to Box business customers with an Office 365 license as well as all Box users with individual personal accounts. Box also promised more integrations with native Office clients on iOS, Android, and Windows to follow later this year.

Image via Box

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