Cloud Storage: Box.net Gets Google Docs Integration
Box.net, which provides cloud file storage and sharing tools for systems integrators and resellers, has announced a deep integration with the Google Docs and Spreadsheets SaaS productivity tools. All 6 million Box users now can create and edit cloud-based documents on Google’s platform right from their accounts, as well as work on any file that’s already in there. The company is hyping the marriage of Box’s content management to Google’s SaaS savvy as a match made in heaven. Oh, and Box is specifically marketing it as a challenge to Microsoft Office 365.
The relevant Box blog entry is full of interesting insight on the state of cloud computing and its future, and it’s well worth a read. But the upshot is that while cloud computing is on the rise, as evidenced by new offerings such as Apple iCloud, legacy software such as Microsoft Office isn’t going extinct anytime soon. That’s why it’s important to promote solutions that enable integration between SaaS and legacy productivity software.
To that end, it’s Box’s opinion that the SaaS providers which allow partners to participate in the offering will succeed while others fail:
We want our users to have access to the most powerful tools for their content – some of these will come from us, many of them will come from partners. Google is there, Microsoft isn’t. We look forward to a day when we can offer users the choice between a Microsoft Office experience and a Google Docs experience. But until then, we’ll continue to invest in our relationship with Google to create the best possible experience for managing documents in the cloud.
Of course, Box’s argument is somewhat undercut by the fact that the Office 365 Marketplace currently lists 174 partner applications. But when the Microsoft Office 365 cloud productivity suite launches next week, I doubt Microsoft is going to let any of those ISVs launch Office Online from within their SaaS tools, as Google is doing here.
All the same, it’s an interesting perspective. Keep a close eye on TalkinCloud for more clues on the Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office 365 debate going forward.