Office Online Gets Real-Time Collaboration For Files Hosted By Microsoft Partners

Microsoft announced today that it is expanding the Cloud Storage Partner Program (CSPP) it first announced a year ago and launching deeper integrations with Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, Citrix and ShareFile.

One new feature the company is touting is real-time co-authoring for Office Online, even if the documents are stored in the partner cloud services. This means that co-workers can collaborate on a document in real-time.

Co-authoring has long been a key feature of Google Docs and has also been available in Office Online since 2013, but only if the documents were accessed through Microsoft products, OneDrive and SharePoint Online. Microsoft began partnering with popular cloud providers like Box and Dropbox last year, in an effort to stay relevant and keep people using Office, but while its users were able to store files on these services, Microsoft didn’t enable co-authoring for these documents until today.

Vineet Jain, CEO of Egnyte, says that instead of competing, Satya Nadella has been keen on working with the up-and-coming enterprise cloud services.  “They are opening up their platform more and more for companies like ourselves,” said Jain.

Microsoft is also allowing its cloud partners to integrate with Office for iOS. While Dropbox users were already able to access and edit their PowerPoint, Word and Excel document in the app, this feature has now been opened up for Box as well. Microsoft says support for Citrix ShareFile, Egnyte and Edmodo is coming soon.

Dropbox and Box will also be further integrating with Outlook’s mail services, making it easier to send files stored on these services to their contacts. Users can send these documents as attachments or cloud-based links.