MS Office & Dropbox

Dropbox announces mobile Office app support

We’ve partnered with Microsoft Office to help you do more on your phone or tablet. Now you can edit Office files from the Dropbox app and access your Dropbox directly from the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for iPhone and iPad.

When you’re inside the Office apps, sign in to your Dropbox account to:

  • Edit Office files from the Dropbox mobile app and sync changes across devices.

  • Access Dropbox files from the new Office apps and save new files to Dropbox.

  • Share Dropbox links from Office when you’ve finished making changes.

This is significant and I think shows the way ahead for a lot of the Social Business mobile apps out there.  Being able to access all our documents whilst on the mobile is important, but being able to edit them using native full-fidelity apps and to return the new version for colleagues to see immediately is a real step forward.

I’m seeing an increasing number of users using iPads as their primary device whilst at work and especially whilst travelling – it’s not such edge-cases like Federico Viticci that have switched to tablets full-time.  It is functionality such as Microsoft and Dropbox are delivering that will help close the productivity gap between tablets and desktops once and for all.


Why did Microsoft think this was a good idea?


It’s one thing to design a marketing campaign around attacking one of your competitors’ business practice (personally I don’t think that’s a great idea in itself), yet another to launch a range of merchandise advertising that campaign.

Does it make me think badly of Google?  Nope, along with what I believe is the vast majority of Google customers/users, I know the downside of using their products.  Its a value judgement I make every time I use them – is it worth giving away a degree of privacy to get these tools for free (or at very low cost in the case of our paid Apps subscriptions)?

Does it make me think badly of Microsoft?  Absolutely.  It seems to me to be a cheap shot from a company that is desperately short of its own innovation and fighting for its life.

As Steve Jobs once said… ‘The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste.’  This effort shows that more clearly than ever.

Microsoft’s Lost Decade

I’m sure many of you will have already seen and read this, but I keep coming back to it as it is such a great in-depth article, covering the history of Microsoft from its inception through to today.

Kurt Eichenwald in Vanity Fair’s August issue:

Amid a dynamic and ever changing marketplace, Microsoft—which declined to comment for this article—became a high-tech equivalent of a Detroit car-maker, bringing flashier models of the same old thing off of the assembly line even as its competitors upended the world. Most of its innovations have been financial debacles or of little consequence to the bottom line. And the performance showed on Wall Street; despite booming sales and profits from its flagship products, in the last decade Microsoft’s stock barely budged from around $30, while Apple’s stock is worth more than 20 times what it was 10 years ago.

How did this jaw-dropping role reversal happen? How could a company that stands among the most cash-rich in the world, the onetime icon of cool that broke IBM’s iron grip on the computer industry, have stumbled so badly in a race it was winning?

The story of Microsoft’s lost decade could serve as a business-school case study on the pitfalls of success. For what began as a lean competition machine led by young visionaries of unparalleled talent has mutated into something bloated and bureaucracy-laden, with an internal culture that unintentionally rewards managers who strangle innovative ideas that might threaten the established order of things.

More >

Microsoft vs. Apple: The History of Computing (Infographic)

This is fascinating – a review of Microsoft vs. Apple competition since 1984, complete with all major product announcements, personnel changes and stock values:

Click on the image below to see the
full version.

(You may have to scale the image to get it to view well on your browser)

It’s amazing to look at the stock price swing with the release of new products, and also to see that MS stock has actually fallen since they went public in 1986 ($27.50 then versus $24.01), whereas Apple stock has gone from $25.12 in 1984 through $17.00 in 2000 to be at $338.04 now.  

Maybe the stock market does value innovation after all?

A new sense of realism from Microsoft

Perhaps they’re getting the message now? From a “Microsoft Business Insights Newsletter” (emphasis mine):

Still on the fence about Windows Vista?

With a year of a maturing ecosystem and continuous updates through Windows Update, many IT Pros have concluded the time is right to get going on their Windows Vista adoption.

Understand how Windows Vista SP1 changes the adoption equation for Windows Vista, get resources to help and take another look at the advantages of updating your desktop infrastructure in this article.

Read the article >

So perhaps after a year (well, actually 17 months), IT folks might actually be considering adoption of Vista?  I think that the opposite might actually be true, that after a year, IT pros are less likely to consider adoption than they were when it was released…

Microsoft just exhaled…

… so the BBC just reported it …

Yes, the BBC‘s huge technology coverage bias towards the Redmond direction continues.  As Darren Adams and others have pointed out, the BBC (which is supposed to be impartial and definitely not funded by advertising or sponsorship, of course)  has a history of reporting every twitch of the MS PR machine, and offers barely a mention of IBMs significant announcements or discoveries.

The latest example is this article covering Microsoft’s announcement of the new Live Mesh service:

Microsoft has lifted the lid on a new web service called Live Mesh, designed to connect a multiplicity of devices and applications online.

The service is seen by many as a key plank in the company’s vision for the future of the web.

Live Mesh is designed to blur the lines between running software and storing data on a desktop and “in the cloud”.

Microsoft’s Amit Mital said Live Mesh would “connect and bring devices together… to work in concert”.

So, Microsoft’s “me too” announcement gets far more coverage than any of the other vendors mentioned in the article (, Google, Amazon etc.) own offerings, and indeed, far more than it actually deserves.

Check out this list:


Hits on BBC site








9,640 (including Lotus flowers, Lotus cars etc.)


Hmmm…. Bias? What does it look like to you?

Georgina Mitcham

This so makes me never want to be a Microsoft partner again…

This fantastic quote arrived in my MS Technet newsletter just a moment ago (emphasis mine):

Georgina Mitcham


Hi all,

What can I say but WOW! The UK launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 took place last week and it was incredible to see 3,000 IT professionals and developers in one place. I have to say I think my favourite part of the day was the fantastic community area that included Swagily Fortunes and Who Wants to be a Swagillionaire! The other highlight was the attendee who got a little too comfortable on the bean bags whilst watching one of the streamed sessions, as I am sure I heard him snoring.

Mmmm, try explaining your attendance at this “business-focused event” to your boss after he reads that 😉

It’s Lotusphere Monday… So here we go, FUD, FUD, FUD…

Good old positive Microsoft…  Instead of focusing on its own positive messages about such wonders of software development as Exchange and Sharepoint, we get to Lotusphere Monday and what comes out of Redmond?

The usual depressing, negative, hot air-filled, splurge of FUD-focused anti-Lotus messages!!  

From CNet’s

Lotus Notes is one of Microsoft’s favourite punching bags.

It’s a frequent target at Microsoft’s partner conferences and sales meetings. Want more sales, go after Notes.

Microsoft is set to announce an updated set of tools on Monday aimed at helping even larger businesses–those with hundreds of thousands of mailboxes–move away from IBM’s software and onto the Microsoft products.

That’s important, Cain says, because while moving e-mail and calendar functions to Exchange is rather straightforward, “the complexity lies in migrating things like groups, archives, and contacts, and of course, Domino applications.” Microsoft’s tools, he said, help fill in some gaps and offer an alternative to fee-based tools from vendors such as Binary Tree and Quest.

So, as always, I’m sure we’ll see some useless tools that won’t do the job, that lead customers down dead-end failed migrations, increasing licence costs and towards ever greater vendor lock-in…

For goodness sake, Microsoft, move on…  Let’s see some innovation instead of the same tired old thinking?  Perhaps you could even show us a roadmap or two?