Microsoft Yet Again A Winner In Its Dropbox Deal

by Sohini Bagchi    Nov 06, 2014


Microsoft’s mobile-cloud vision under its current CEO Satya Nadella is showing a greater progress, especially with its recent partnership with Dropbox, where both companies are teaming up to integrate their services for collaboration across mobile devices. Experts believe that the integration between Dropbox and Office 365 can give people yet another  reason to pick up an Office subscription, an area where Microsoft was worried it was losing its sheen in the mobile era. 

Some may wonder if the partnership is a strange one for Microsoft, since it already offers its own service, OneDrive, that directly competes with Dropbox. However, as Wired puts it, “Microsoft is realizing that, because it’s not as powerful as it once was, keeping itself closed off from the rest of the tech world is a dangerous thing. In this case, the danger isn’t that customers will abandon OneDrive. It’s that they’ll abandon Office.”

And Microsoft itself is no stranger to odd deals, and knows how to turn it into its advantage - a good example is hosting Oracle and Salesforce software on Microsoft Azure.

Read more: Microsoft blog post and Dropbox’s views on the partnership.

And hence it makes better sense to team up with Dropbox, the company, which  since its inception as a desktop app in 2007, has grown to 300 million users and recognized early on how the rise of mobile created a massive new market for syncing.  While at the same time, over 1.2 billion people use Office for work. With data and mobile usage exploding globally, the crux now is to access, manage and collaborate on their files from anywhere, anytime.

“In our mobile-first and cloud-first world, people need easier ways to create, share and collaborate regardless of their device or platform,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Together, Microsoft and Dropbox will provide our shared customers with flexible tools that put them at the center for the way they live and work today.”

“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.”

This partnership will enable users to easily collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations, as users can access Dropbox from Office apps to get to their files and folders faster. They can edit office files directly from Dropbox and sync them across devices as well as share new or edited files from the Office apps using simple Dropbox sharing functionality. These capabilities will be available to all Office users with a Dropbox account. Dropbox for Business customers will need an Office 365 subscription, says a company statement. The Web integrations between the Dropbox website and Office Online will be available in the first half of 2015. Dropbox said it will also make its application available on the Windows Phone and Windows tablet platforms in the coming months.

While its a clear long term win for Microsoft, Dropbox also got an important win. As Patrick Moorhead, principal analysts at Moor Insights & Strategy opines, ”What Dropbox gets out of this is survival.” Dropbox would not succeed in building a productivity suite of its own, he believes.

Gregg Keizer, senior writer and analyst at Computerworld quotes analysts who expect Microsoft to push the partnership beyond what was revealed now by integrating Dropbox with the upcoming upgrades to Office on Windows and OS X.

While calling it a game changer may be a bit of exaggeration analysts believe for the mutual customers it is indeed a big deal and yet another interesting move in the world of technology.