Box announces Microsoft Office 365 integration and unlimited storage for business accounts

By Peter Gothard
15 Jul 2014 View Comments

Cloud storage firm Box has announced planned integration with Microsoft's Office suite, including Office 365.

Integration includes "deep connections to Outlook 2013 Desktop", which means emailing links to Box content, or converting email attachments to Box content.

Further reading

Word, PowerPoint and Excel are all covered as individual Office apps, too.

At the same time, Box has announced it is removing storage limits for its business account customers (largely SMB-based) in the same way it did for its higher-priced enterprise customer account holders back in 2010.

David Quantrell, SVP for Box in EMEA, told Computing: "For a while, Box has been plotting this course that storage should really be becoming a commodity, not something we should obsess about. In 2010, we said once you become an enterprise customer, you really shouldn't have to think about storage, so we made it free. Now we're announcing this for business customers, too."

On the Office 365 integration, Computing quizzed Quantrell on the full scope of integration with the Windows file structure. We asked if Box will work in the standard Windows UI when attaching files with Office 365, to which Quantrell replied, "yes".

"Right now it's client-side on the desktop, and we'll be extending later on to the online service," said Quantrell. "So you'll be sitting on your desktop being able to use your file system.

"We're also going to add to that a link so you can choose to send in Box. You'll be sitting in an application and able to send that on Box, or off to OneDrive as well."

As far as OneDrive goes, it's reasonable to question whether Box - which many consumer and enterprise customers use simply to store and share data - may be treading on the toes of Microsoft's OneDrive a little, particularly as Microsoft very recently boosted storage space on OneDrive to 1TB per customer.

Quantrell, though, wouldn't hear of it. "Box is much more of what we would call a content platform," he said. 

"If you think of OneDrive as a personal hard drive in the cloud, Box is rather an environment where you store all of your content - everything effectively in one place.

"Underpinning that, it means every single movement of the content is recorded. So you get security reporting, usage reporting, and collaborative space. It's very controlled.

"It's important for us to have an integration, because it's one of the suites of tools people end up working with. What we've done here with Office is what we've done with a number of other enterprise applications, like Salesforce - so we already have a host of these integrations in place."

Office 365 integration is expected to launch in autumn 2014, and the company will doubtless shed more light on features and functions at the BoxWorks conference in September.

Box delayed its public share offering (IPO) back in May, and still has not carried this out despite a suspected June 2014 target.

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