“The cloud is about breaking down walls between people and information. Not building a new set of islands in the sky.”
-- John Case, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office Division
This was the closing remark on a recent Microsoft OneDrive blog post announcing new features titled, "Thinking outside the box." While we haven't always agreed with everything Microsoft has done, we completely agree with this view on cloud innovation. However, if Microsoft is to make good on *not* creating new "sets of closed islands in the sky," then they need to drive for further openness in the ecosystem.
By keeping Office 365 users on the closed OneDrive "island," Microsoft is stranding hundreds of millions of users and customers that have chosen Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and others. And by releasing Office on the iPad without the ability to view or edit documents from any cloud service other than their own, they're making it harder -- not easier - for users to get the most out of their software.
Over the last four decades, Microsoft has built some of the world's most important computing platforms. Many of these platforms -- including Windows -- succeeded because of their openness to third party applications and developers. In the Post-PC era, the enterprise software landscape has become far more heterogeneous, with most organizations using a litany of best-of-breed cloud solutions, including Salesforce.com, Workday, Zendesk, MobileIron, Okta, GoodData, Domo, Google Apps, Office 365, Box, and many more. In this era, data should be free to move to the services that a customer chooses.
I’m personally excited by the revitalized and innovative Microsoft we've seen under Satya Nadella's leadership. At Box, we believe in the power of the cloud to break down walls, and welcome the opportunity to work with Microsoft to make it a reality.