Box pledges to make it easier to use its file-sync technology with Microsoft (S MSFT) Office with a new service called Box for Office 365, due in beta this fall. Also, Box announced unlimited storage for customers that sign up for its Business plan pricing tier. Previously, only customers that enrolled in Box’s Enterprise plan had access to unlimited storage while Business customers had to pony up 15 dollars a month for 1,000 gigabytes.
While Box already had an add-on for Microsoft Office that let users open a document in a Microsoft program like Word or Excel and save it directly to Box, Box for Office 365 supposedly takes those integrations further, said Heidi Williams, Box’s Senior Director of Platform Engineering. Box will now be featured more prominently within Office than ever before and users will be able to access their recent files stored in Box directly through Office as opposed to within the Box app.
Box will also have an enhanced integration with Outlook as part of Box for Office 365, explained Williams. In the past, a user would have to proactively choose to either upload or share a file in Box when sending emails in Outlook; now with Box for Office 365, users will receive a prompt asking them whether or not they want to send their attachments via Box.
Box and Microsoft began talking about the integration around six months ago, said Williams, who acknowledged that while the two companies compete with each other in some areas like storage (Microsoft recently announced its own standalone business plan for its cloud storage service OneDrive), Box is happy to collaborate with Microsoft in this case. Williams said that Box and Microsoft will work on expanding their collaboration and offer more integration between their two products.
“We are excited to see where we can take it next,” said Williams
Regarding Box’s news of unlimited storage, Box’s spokesperson Michael Moeschler said that the ongoing cloud storage wars were not the reason Box removed the storage cap for Business plan users, but was instead a response to customer demand.
“When you no longer have to worry about storage, you can just get back to work,” said Williams.
Last week’s news of Amazon’s (S AMZN) Zocalo document collaboration tool definitely caused file-sync and sharing companies to take notice (not to mention Google and Microsoft). It’s probably not that much of a coincidence that we are seeing Box and Dropbox announce new features and capabilities as a way to gain back some momentum. Just last week, Dropbox announced that it now has the ability to stream, which supposedly boosts the company’s syncing times up to twice as fast.
Post and thumbnail images courtesy of Shutterstock user Palto.