Microsoft and Dropbox have joined forces to make it easier to use productivity applications on mobile devices and on the Web. The partnership integrates the collaborative services of Dropbox and Microsoft Office so users can share and edit documents, spreadsheets, and other files. File-based services like Dropbox have been eyed with suspicion about security and concern by vendors worried it could chip away at their share of the market. Microsoft has been no exception, viewing Dropbox as a possible competitor to OneDrive, its own file-sharing application.
Standalone file sync and share is dying, and I’m not the only one who sees its imminent demise. When Gartner unveiled its Magic Quadrant for the enterprise file synchronization and sharing (EFSS) market, the analyst house predicted that less than 10 percent of today’s vendors would still offer standalone offerings in 2017. This week’s news that Microsoft and Dropbox have teamed up to let users of Microsoft Office sync and share documents in Dropbox, in addition to Microsoft’s OneDrive, emphasized this. The partnership clearly recognizes that users want to choose different file sync and share services underneath the applications they use. So, why is standalone EFSS slowly disappearing? File sync and share has always been about solving the problem of backing up a user’s documents, at the same time as making them available on all of the user’s devices, mobile as well as PC. However, as more and more applications, such as Microsoft Office, themselves move to the cloud, pure file sync and share solutions are becoming commoditized and appearing as a feature, both in productivity applications and more powerful team collaboration solutions.