Microsoft, Adobe advance partnership with new cross-cloud productivity integrations

Microsoft and Adobe are continuing to integrate more of their cloud services -- such as Microsoft Teams and Adobe's Sign e-signature service -- across each other's portfolios.

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Microsoft and Adobe are expanding on their year-old partnership by agreeing to integrate some of their key productivity services across their respective cloud services.

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(Image: Microsoft)

On Sept. 7, representatives from the two companies said that Adobe Sign, the company's e-signature service, is now Microsoft's "preferred" e-signature offering across Office 365 and Dynamics 365. And Microsoft Teams, Redmond's alternative to Slack, is now the "preferred" collaboration service for Adobe Creative Cloud, Document Cloud, and Experience Cloud. Adobe also is making Microsoft's Azure its "preferred" hosting platform for Adobe Sign.

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("Preferred" -- the way that Microsoft and Adobe use the term -- does not mean exclusive. When the pair announced that Azure was Adobe's preferred cloud provider last fall, for example, Adobe continued to also host some of its services on Amazon's AWS, and still continues to do so.)

Today's announcement is the latest step in a strategic partnership between the two vendors whose user bases for products like Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Sign, and Microsoft's Office apps have substantial overlap.

In the fall of 2016, the pair said that Adobe Creative Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Document Cloud would all be available on Azure, and Azure would be the "preferred cloud platform" for these services. The two companies also announced that Adobe's Marketing Cloud would be Microsoft's Marketing module for the Enterprise version of Dynamics 365, its combined CRM/ERP suite.

This past spring, Microsoft and Adobe delivered on a couple more of their integration goals and said Adobe Analytics would be integrated with Microsoft Power BI.

The first of the Sign and Teams integrations will be available "in the coming weeks," officials said (possibly during or slightly after the Microsoft Ignite conference at the end of September).

Specifically, Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Sign will be integrated in Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Stock (its stock-image service) integration with Microsoft Teams will be first out of the gate, followed by integration between Adobe Experience Cloud and Teams "in the future."

Additionally, Microsoft and Adobe are working on integration Sign with Teams via a bot that will allow team members to manage and track documents. The The pair also are working to integrate Sign with Microsoft Flow event-automation service. Adobe Sign is already integrated with and available for Microsoft Dynamics and SharePoint.

Next up for Microsoft and Adobe: Working in tandem on machine learning and intelligent document automation, officials said. This could take the form of being able to query the Adobe Sign bot in Teams to ask if and when someone has opened a document, or to get more information about the thousands of PDFs stored in a user's OneDrive.

Adobe will be integrating with the Microsoft Graph unified programming interface more deeply across its product line, and Microsoft may find ways to work with Adobe's Sensei artificial-intelligence engine.

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