Box and Microsoft: Delivering on the Cloud's Promise

I’m drafting this post in my browser, having created one of the first Box-originated Word documents in the cloud. Today, as a result of our partnership with Microsoft, you can now create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online directly from within Box. It is such a seamless, instantaneous, and surprising experience that it warrants a look back at how we got here.

Over the last ten years, many enterprise apps moved to the cloud. Yet, this transition to ubiquitous data access and collaboration has come with a compromise — users still have to run software from the desktop to accomplish the most routine business tasks, like updating a cell in a spreadsheet or changing a slide in a PowerPoint file.

Moving Office, the world’s most popular productivity suite, to the cloud is a massive milestone for Microsoft and the broader industry. And connecting Office Online to other applications, like Box, is an arguably an even bigger move. We are finally moving forward to being able to fully work in the cloud.

This is not a trivial change. Unlike the desktop, where you can open and exchange data between various applications — basic affordances of our desktop file system — the same hasn't been true on the web. And by opening up Office Online, Microsoft is showing an amazing amount of proactive enablement for moving the future of work this direction.

We can now bring incredibly frictionless ways of working to the world's most diverse enterprises and institutions, ensuring a much more user-centric approach to IT, and way better productivity for individuals. This will in turn dramatically improve how work gets done: a pharmaceutical company making drug discoveries can do research around the globe as if they were in the same room; a consulting firm can get teams on the same page instantly; and students can share and collaborate on projects with just a browser.

And instead of hitting roadblocks and friction (software downloads, incompatible applications, broken sharing models), our applications should actually begin to accelerate what we're able to accomplish. To do this, our tools need to put users first, and they must be open and interoperable to ensure amazing, seamless experiences.

This is what the future of work looks like, and we're excited to be partnering with Microsoft to bring it to you.