Today enterprise cloud file and document storage company Box announced that it has brought former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky on board as an adviser. The move matters, as Sinofsky has deep experience with both Microsoft Office and SkyDrive, two products that Box competes with.
Box, which today remains storage focused, is widely expected to introduce document editing tools on top of its cloud file system. This would put it in direct contention with Office, a key profit source for Microsoft, and Google’s Docs efforts.
Sinofsky departed Microsoft following the completion and shipment of Windows 8, and the Surface tablet hybrid. It remains slightly unclear to this day, but his quick trip out the door was not exactly voluntary. According to Todd Bishop of GeekWire, the pairing of Box and Sinofsky started with a Facebook message, and was consummated over bowls of pho.
Box, for now, is downplaying the Box-Microsoft war narrative. Box CEO Aaron Levie, in a statement provided to GeekWire, stated that his company would “love to get closer to Microsoft,” instead of growing its competitive surface area with the rival firm.
That’s bunk, but expected bunk. TechCrunch has reached out to Sinofsky for clarification of what his specific duties will be with Box and what areas of the company he intends to focus on.
Sinofksy was a considered candidate by external parties for the CEO role at Microsoft following Ballmer’s departure. It’s safe to say that anyone who had been pulling for a Sinofsky return can lay that dream to rest. Box is increasingly maturing into the company that could mount the first credible enterprise challenge to Office’s decades’ old hegemony.
Top Image Credit: BUILDWindows