Microsoft is opening up its Office app suite via its iOS apps to encourage cloud integration with third-party providers. Box has already added access to its cloud storage service via Office for iOS.
Kirk Koenigsbauer, Microsoft's vice president for Office, said in the Office blog that the company is enabling cloud service providers, such as Box, Citrix and Salesforce, to connect services directly into Office apps on iPads and iPhones.
"Third-party cloud storage providers can natively integrate into the 'Locations' picker in the iOS Office apps. This will enable users to open, edit and save documents from these providers right from within Office," he said.
Koenigsbauer described the move as part of a wider strategy to tie the Office suite to multiple platforms, including offering cloud service integration for Office Online.
"We're hard at work on the same type of integration for the Office universal apps for Windows 10 and the Office for Android apps. So in the future, no matter what device, platform or storage provider you're using, your Office documents will only be a tap away," he explained.
Microsoft previously had a partnership with Dropbox to integrate the firm's cloud storage with Office apps. By opening the Office suite, Microsoft will give Dropbox's rivals scope to carry out similar cloud integration.
Box is one of the first companies to react to the move, giving iOS users immediate access to documents stored on Box through the Office app.
The cloud storage and collaboration firm also said that it will add the same integration to Office Online later in 2015.
Box will join Citrix and Salesforce as inaugural members of Microsoft's Cloud Storage Partner Program, which aims to establish a more open Office 365 software suite for enterprise use.
Aaron Levie, Box's chief executive, took to Twitter to say that the move is good news all round.
Microsoft is truly becoming open. A huge win for customers and the industry. And a huge loss for Microsoft jokes. http://t.co/K8lRrNGih5— Aaron Levie (@levie) February 17, 2015
Microsoft told V3 the future of Office 365 is in the cloud, describing how the firm's Office division will embrace Microsoft's blanket strategy of 'mobile first, cloud first' as outlined by chief executive Satya Nadella.
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