“Coopetition” reigns supreme in Microsoft-Dropbox alliance

Dropbox and Microsoft both offer free or near-free storage to customers. But now they’re making it easier for Microsoft Office users — especially those who use Office for iPad — to keep using Dropbox storage, which might seem counterintuitive since Microsoft pushes its own OneDrive as its repository of choice for Office users.

In a partnership reported by The Verge Tuesday, Kirk Koenigsbauer of the [company]Microsoft[/company] Office Engineering team said that Dropbox access was a key wishlist item for iPad for Office users. Accordingly, the Dropbox icon will show up next to Microsoft’s OneDrive icon on the iPad for Office screen. The deal appears targeted at mobile Office users, not the more traditional, desk-bound knowledge workers who tend to use Word and Excel in their offices.

In return, [company]Dropbox[/company] will encourage its users to turn to Microsoft Office applications to edit and create their documents in the first place. Microsoft has another alliance with Box to ease co-existence of Office 365 and Box cloud storage and file sync software.

Here is the Microsoft blog post outlining the plan, and here’s Dropbox’s take.

Microsoft, under new CEO Satya Nadella, is steering a tricky course between pushing its own applications against rival ISVs and wooing those ISVs over to use Microsoft Azure and other resources.

Dropbox and [company]Box[/company], both of which started out as cloud storage and file sync-and-share companies that work with everyone’s applications, are both trying to broaden their reach and turn their products into more of a “platform” for third parties. That’s because nearly everyone, from [company]Apple[/company] to [company]Google[/company] to [company]Microsoft[/company], now has their own cloud storage-and-sync story to sell.