Microsoft Partners 'Excited' Over Microsoft-Dropbox Partnership

Microsoft and Dropbox on Tuesday revealed a partnership integrating their services built around the cloud.

Users will be able to access Dropbox from Office mobile apps, edit Office files directly from Dropbox, sync them across the devices, and share files from Office apps using Dropbox sharing.

"As a Microsoft partner, we're excited about having a big brand name like Dropbox to be able to work with our customer base," said Robby Hill, founder and CEO of HillSouth, a Florence, S.C.-based Microsoft partner. "File sharing has always been the Holy Grail application of the cloud. They are both playing to their strengths. Dropbox knows the applications people need, and Microsoft knows the business of providing applications. This is a high-level strategic partnership that moves both in the right direction."

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Both companies said the new features will be rolling out on software updates to Office and Dropbox on iOS and Android in the next few weeks, and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets in the coming months. The web integration between the Dropbox website and Office Online will be released in the first half of next year.

Partners aren't surprised about Microsoft making it a priority to roll out the new platform on iOS and Android rather than its own Windows Phone devices, as it is about achieving mass adoption as soon as possible.

"Microsoft Office on iOS and Android are the most useful applications in the office toolkit," Hill said. "It's not surprising. I think it's just a matter of market share. Windows mobile has incredibly low market share. A business like Microsoft is wise to be adding features. I think it will help Microsoft's cloud strategy. Microsoft made a big announcement regarding its cloud strategy last week, so this bodes well for Microsoft's cloud partners."

Microsoft said last week that subscribers of Office 365 will have unlimited storage on OneDrive at no additional cost. This is quite a competitive offer as Microsoft's biggest cloud competitors don't offer unlimited storage. Now users will be able to use Microsoft Office 365, gain unlimited cloud storage access to the OneDrive, and not have to choose between the OneDrive and Dropbox because Microsoft is partnering with the platform rather than competing.

Next: 'Microsoft Is The Real Winner Here'

"I think it's a great deal for both companies," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at SIGMAnet, an Ontario, Calif.-based solution provider and Microsoft partner.

"For Dropbox, they are basically competing against Google. Setting up a strategic partnership with Microsoft will allow them to compete. For Microsoft, it helps by aligning with a really good company," he said. "It allows to connect to a cutting-edge service, something they haven’t been able to develop on their own. Overall, we like the moves Microsoft has been making lately. They've been more partner-centric over the last several months. I think they’ve gone through a reorganization process and it takes time to get your traction. The channel is how they'll do it, and that makes for an exciting opportunity as a partner."

Dropbox has more than 300 million users and currently holds in excess of 35 billion Office Files, while Microsoft said more than 1.2 billion people use Office at work.

"I think, overall, it reiterates storage as a feature, not as a stand-alone service," said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal Analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, a leading tech analyst firm based in Austin, Texas. "It's a really good deal for Microsoft that they're using Dropbox to augment their Office 365 platform. Microsoft is the real winner here. Now that storage is a feature of something, Dropbox is cutting the best deal that they possibly could."

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the move better serves the mobile enterprise and its recent high rate of cloud adoption.

"In our mobile-first and cloud-first world, people need easier ways to create, share and collaborate regardless of their device or platform," Nadella said in a statement.

"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."