Microsoft, Box co-develop Windows 10 app with deep Office ties

Box fills the app hole left by the rival Dropbox partnership.

box for windows 10 app
Credit: Box

On Wednesday, Microsoft continued its neutral approach toward cloud storage providers by partnering with Box, which has launched its own universal app for Windows 10.

In April, Box announced at Microsoft's Build conference that it was working with Microsoft to develop a Windows 10 app. That partnership has now come to fruition, with the scheduled release of the app in the Windows Store today.

The app works with the Windows 10 file picker, so that Microsoft Office workers can work in Word, PowerPoint, or Excel and save the file directly to Box. Likewise, clicking on a file within the app can launch the appropriate Office application. And as Box said this spring, the app will send notifications to the Windows 10 Notifications center so that users can keep up on who's doing what.

Oddly, Box fills a hole in Microsoft's existing relationship with a competing cloud storage provider, Dropbox. In November of 2014, Dropbox and Microsoft formed a partnership to deliver a Dropbox app to Android and iOS tablets and phones, then extended it to Office Online in April. Both companies have said that they will eventually publish apps for Windows, but haven't yet delivered. Box, for its part, hasn't yet announced Microsoft Office integration with its Android and iOS apps, or Office Online.

Both services, of course, compete with OneDrive, which recently raised hackles when Microsoft withdrew its promise of unlimited cloud storage and slashed user storage limits as well. Now, those disgruntled users have an alternative.

Why this matters: Microsoft has shown itself to be exceedingly willing to work with rival platforms in the "cloud first, mobile first" space. Still, a cynic might also see the partnerships with Box and Dropbox as a way to offload some of its user's storage requirements onto other platforms. Whatever the reason, though, users win.

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