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Microsoft opens Office storage back end for iOS love

But Citrix, Salesforce and Box line up

Nokia Lumia 625 displaying Office app

Users of Microsoft’s Office on iPhone and iPad could now store their vital documents on Apple’s cloud.

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it would allow third-party cloud storage providers to integrate natively with the locations picker of iOS Office apps.

It didn’t name iCloud, but the implication is clear – all that’s needed now is for somebody in Cupertino to step up.

To that end, Microsoft also announced the Cloud Storage Partner Program with inaugural members Citrix, Salesforce and headline-friendly but IPO-shy Box. Alas, there was no Apple. Cupertino, along with others, can apply to join the programme here.

Programme members will support native integration with Office for iPad and iPhone and with Office Online.

Citrix and Dropbox coughed up suitably appreciative supporting quotes, but there was nothing from Salesforce.

Aaron Levie, of cash-burning Box, was very excited to deepen his commitment to openness in the enterprise by letting enterprises choose the tools they wish to be successful. It potentially means more data in Box and, hopefully for Levie, more paying customers who can potentially help reduce his losses.

The news followed Microsoft's partnership with Dropbox last November, which made it easier to access, edit and share Dropbox files through Office apps.

Citrix reckoned it and Microsoft “share a mission to enable people to move seamlessly across a diverse mix of devices and locations throughout the day”.

Why is Microsoft making surrendering its grip on where data and documents are stored?

“We want Office to be the preferred way to work with documents no matter where they’re stored,” Office corporate vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer blogged.

He said Microsoft was “working hard” on integration for Office for Android apps and for the forthcoming Office on Windows 10. ®

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