Online file-sharing service Box today announced a "deep integration" with Microsoft Office Online that will let users more easily open, edit and save Office documents. Box users will now be able to manage Office files directly from Box and automatically save any changes in real time without having to open other applications installed on their devices.
The new integration eliminates the need for users to upload or download files, or to move files back and forth between different applications while collaborating online, according to Box. In addition to simplifying workflows, the integration reduces the security risks that can arise with locally stored content, the company said.
The new Box-Microsoft collaboration follows Microsoft's launch earlier this year of its Office 365 Cloud Storage Partner Program. As a current participant in the program, Box is already integrated with Office for iPad, iPhone and Outlook for iPhone and iPad applications.
Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie said the latest integration promises to improve productivity for enterprise users of Box and Microsoft applications. Box said more than 47,000 enterprise customers use its service for content management and collaboration.
"The new model for enterprise productivity depends on creating seamless, device-agnostic connections between the core applications that people use to get work done," Levie said. More than a billion people are estimated to be using Office applications to create and manage content, which makes Microsoft a crucial partner for Box, he added.
Kirk Koenigsbauer, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Office, noted that the new joint offering gives Box and Microsoft users "more choice and simplicity for how they work together with documents and digital content."
Easier and Seamless Web Collaboration
Microsoft Office documents "are among the most uploaded, edited and shared files in Box," according to Box Vice President of Mobile Products David Still. Box already hosts more than one billion Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, with users adding millions more every day, Still noted in blog post on his company's Web site.
In developing Box for Office Online, Box made it a priority to ensure ease of use and comprehensive capabilities, Still said. Among the key features of the new integration, are seamless workflows with "open with" buttons in Box, full Office editing capabilities in Box and a one-click "share" button for document collaboration, he added. These features will let Box-Microsoft users work completely from a Web browser without opening a single installed application, Still noted.
Later this year, Box plans to announce further integrations with native Office clients for iOS, Android and Windows users, Still added. The integration announced today is available to all Box business customers with Office 365 licenses, as well as to all Box personal users.