Box has integrated its cloud storage and file share service with Microsoft's Office productivity apps suite, and will offer unlimited capacity to customers of its Business edition, as the company waits for the right time to go public.
The online storage provider already offers unlimited storage with its Enterprise plan, which costs US$35 per user/month, but the capacity was capped at 1TB for the Business edition, which costs $15 per user/month.
That 1TB of storage had to be shared among the users in the Business account, and this was a problem for customers who want to roll out Box at a large, company-wide scale using the plan.
"Enterprises shouldn't worry about storage when using Box," said CEO Aaron Levie.
The Enterprise and Business editions offer storage and file sync and sharing with the same level of business-grade security, but the Enterprise plan has a set of IT management controls that the Business plan lacks.
Still, there are Box customers that roll out the service to 10,000 employees and more using the Business plan, according to Levie.
Google, Microsoft and other enterprise cloud storage and file share providers have been dropping prices and increasing capacity as well, so the move can be seen as a competitive must for Box.
Microsoft increased the per-user storage of OneDrive for Business from 25GB to 1TB. The increase applied to the stand-alone version of OneDrive for Business, which costs $5 per user/month with the free Office Online, and to OneDrive for Business bundled with the workplace versions of Office 365, which range in price from a free edition for schools to the $22 per user/month Enterprise E4 edition.
Meanwhile, Google recently introduced a new version of Google Apps for Business called Drive for Work, which includes unlimited Google Drive storage at $10 per user/month.
So while cloud storage has become a commodity, Box understands it needs to focus on helping its customers make efficient use of that data. "Its no longer about how much you can store, but what you can do with your content," Levie said.
Its service is already integrated with many third-party systems like Salesforce.com's CRM suite, NetSuite enterprise applications and GoodData's business intelligence cloud software, so that users of those products can use Box to store and share their data.
Now Box is adding integration with the Office 365 productivity suite, so that users will be able to open, edit, share and save files from Box within Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other applications. There is also integration with Outlook, so that users can share links to files stored in Box and turn document attachments into Box links within the Outlook interface.
The Office and Outlook integrations will debut in beta mode in the fall. Work is also underway to integrate Box with Office Online, the lightweight, Web-based version of Office, and with the cloud versions of the SharePoint, Lync and Exchange servers. The integrations will be available at no additional cost to Business and Enterprise edition customers.
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