A couple of big Office-related announcements this morning. First, Microsoft has created a new Cloud Storage Partner Program for Office, allowing third-party cloud storage providers to connect Office Online. And the software giant has also updated its Office for iPad and iPhone apps so that they can work natively with any third-party storage providers.
“Both announcements advance Microsoft openness and continue to drive forward a long-term vision for even greater Office extensibility,” a Microsoft representative told me. I agree. Let’s take a look.
Office Online integration with cloud storage services
Thanks to a new Cloud Storage Partner Program, Microsoft is now allowing third party cloud services to integrate Office Online into their applications so that users can open, view, and edit documents stored in those services with any web browser. Box, Citrix, and Salesforce are already working with Microsoft on this, and other service providers will come onboard in the future.
This is a mockup of how a pretend service called Contoso could open a cloud-hosted document in Word Online.
Cloud storage integration in Office for iPad and iPhone apps
Starting today, third-party cloud storage providers can natively integrate into the Locations picker in the Office apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) for both iPad and iPhone, Microsoft says, enabling users to open, edit and save documents from these providers right from within the apps. Apple’s iCloud and Box can be seen in this shot.
I received the Office app updates on my iPhone 6 Plus today, and according to the app documentation, these new versions now natively support iCloud already.
Note: Since this seems to be an issue, Microsoft adds that it is “hard at work on the same type of integration for the Office universal apps for Windows 10,” and for the Office for Android apps as well.