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Box Customers Can Create Microsoft Office Files Directly from Box

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Box Shares rose ~5%, following its deeper integration with Microsoft

On June 16, 2015, Microsoft (MSFT) and Box (BOX) took their partnership one notch higher. Now, Box customers can search, open, and edit Microsoft Office Online files directly. This deal is expected to widen both companies’ customer bases. All of the changes made on Microsoft Office Online will be saved on Box in real-time. Following this announcement, Box’s shares rose by ~4.56%.

Earlier, Box and Microsoft announced a special version of Office applications that was customized for use with Box. Through this partnership and integration, Box’s collaboration features will simplify and ease the workflow. Features include workflow automation, task management, comments and real-time alerts, and security and control capabilities—like granular permissions, password protected content, and access stats. Also, the security risks associated with the locally-stored content are expected to be reduced.

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Microsoft’s strategy is different from Apple

On the surface, this integration looks surprising as Box competes with Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration platform and OneDrive cloud storage platform. In the words of Jared Spataro, a Microsoft executive, “We are company agnostic when it comes to who we integrate with.”

In November 2014, Microsoft entered into a deal with Dropbox. In April 2015, it went ahead and added Dropbox as a repository choice for Office Online. Microsoft’s company agnostic approach is intended to lure as many people as possible to use its products. In contrast, Apple (AAPL) prefers to keep its products under wraps.

Microsoft offers competitive cloud storage options with OneDrive

As the above chart shows, Microsoft’s OneDrive offers a very competitive options for cloud storage compared to its peers. The costs for Apple’s iCloud storage tiers range between 20GB (gigabytes) at $0.99 per month and 1TB (terabyte) at $19.99 per month. Google (GOOG) Drive offers storage tiers between 100GB at $1.99 per month and 30TB at $299.99 per month. Dropbox Basic provides 2GB for free. Dropbox Pro offers 1TB at $10.99 per month.

If you’re bullish on Microsoft’s stock, you could invest in the PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (QQQ) and Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK). QQQ and XLK invest ~8% and ~9.61% of their holdings in Microsoft, respectively.

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