Microsoft opened its Office suite to third-party cloud storage services today, allowing users to open documents straight from other apps like iCloud Drive and Box instead of depending on Microsoft’s OneDrive. The option currently works on iPhone and iPad only, but Microsoft promises support will eventually arrive for Windows 10 universal apps and Office for Android apps.
Additionally, Microsoft will also allow third-party storage providers to integrate Office Online into their apps using its new Cloud Storage Partner Program. As of today, Office Online will support Box, Citrix and Salesforce, and Microsoft pledges to add new partnerships in the future. This new developer adds a number of ways for users to access their documents from sources other than OneDrive without having to download a file to their computer.
“So in the future, no matter what device, platform, or storage provider you’re using, your Office documents will only be a tap away,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of the Office team, in an official blog post.
Microsoft’s move to open up Office continues the company’s efforts to collaborate with competing cloud service apps and providers to expand the reach of its apps. Microsoft has been slowly opening up storage opportunities to third parties to make users’ documents more easily available on a variety of apps and services. The company also teamed up with Dropbox back in December to give users of its service the ability to access files through Office Online, Office for iPad and Android tablets.
“Today’s announcements are just one more step on our continuing journey to open up Office in new ways for our customers and partners,” Koenigsbauer said in the blog message. “Living in a cloud-first, mobile-first world is all about having the flexibility to get things done from anywhere and on any device. And these exciting, new features will make it easier than ever to use Office with virtually any combination of apps, platforms and cloud storage services.”
Google Drive, so far, is not listed among Microsoft’s initial cloud storage partners. Interested companies can sign up to be part of the Cloud Storage Partner Program at dev.office.com.
It’s also worth mentioning that Microsoft offers Office 365 subscribers unlimited OneDrive storage. OneDrive is the company's file hosting service where users can upload and sync files in the cloud, then access from a web browser.