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Microsoft: We think your Office files should see other people

Documents can now be stashed in Box, Dropbox, etc

Users of Microsoft Office now have more choice where they keep and work on their documents, and with whom they co-create them.

"Since 2013, we’ve offered real-time co-authoring with Office Online documents stored in Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online," said Microsoft's Office VP Kirk Koenigsbauer in a blog post.

"Today, we are extending this capability to cloud storage providers in the Cloud Storage Partner Program. Real-time co-authoring with Office Online is now available for users whose documents are stored in Box, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox and Egnyte. Also starting today, any other partner in the CSPP program can enable real-time co-authoring using standard interfaces."

Microsoft already allows collaborative Word, Excel, and Powerpoint content to be created by teams using its own storage systems but opening it up this way makes Redmond's suite a lot more attractive to people who prefer their storage needs to be handled elsewhere.

The same partners are also going to be getting full integration with Office for iOS, allowing users to store their files directly outside Microsoft's servers. Dropbox and Box already have this as a feature, and Citrix ShareFile, Edmodo and Egnyte will get is "soon," he said.

In addition, users of Outlook.com are now going to have a better experience with Dropbox and Box for storage. In the next few weeks users will get the option to attach files stored on the cloud storage systems directly into emails, either as an attachment or as a link.

"Soon, you’ll be able to choose and send files directly from Dropbox without worrying about attachment limits," said Michael Shaffer, VP of business development at Dropbox. "When you compose emails on Outlook.com, you’ll be able to access and share all the files you need, whether you’re at your desk or on the road."

Microsoft's move is yet another move in chief exec Satya Nadella's cloud-everywhere strategy and shows how much the bully-boy corporate has changed. The idea of working with sometime rivals would never be in former CEO Steve Ballmer's playbook, but it gives Redmond the chance to make life easier for a lot of users who like their storage where they want it. ®

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