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Dropbox Teams Up With Microsoft; Amazon Offering Free Space

Want to save your Office files directly to Dropbox instead of Microsoft's OneDrive? Soon you can, thanks to a deal between Microsoft and Dropbox that was announced on Tuesday.

According to the two companies, customers will soon be able to access their Dropbox account through Microsoft's Office apps, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These Dropbox-stored Office files can be edited as well as shared using the built-in Dropbox sharing feature.

This collaboration will begin over the next several weeks with the Android and iOS smartphone and tablet apps for Office and Dropbox, followed by a connection between Office Online and Dropbox on the Web in the first half of 2015. A Dropbox app for Windows-based phones and tablets will be made available in the coming months.

After selecting a Dropbox account as a file's destination, Office users can browse folders and files in the Dropbox space and open them with the native Office app. Users can also load up the Dropbox app, navigate to Office files, and have the Dropbox app open the correct native Office app.

News of the Microsoft/Dropbox collaboration arrives after Microsoft's Chris Jones said that Office 365 subscribers will receive unlimited OneDrive storage for free. The rollout will take several months to complete, and customers will be notified by Microsoft once the free unlimited storage is added.

News of the collaboration also conveniently arrives as Amazon reveals that it's offering free unlimited photo storage for Prime subscribers called Prime Photos. All photos are stored in Amazon Cloud Drive and can be uploaded from Android and iOS phones and tablets, Mac and Windows-based computers, as well as Amazon's own Fire Phone and Fire tablets.

For the uninitiated, Amazon Prime is a subscription service by Amazon that provides free 2-day delivery and access to streaming movies and TV shows, Kindle Owners' Lending Library, and Prime Music. Photos added to this service can be accessed through a number of devices including Fire TV, the Fire TV Stick, the PlayStation consoles, a number of Samsung Smart TVs and more.

Free unlimited online storage sounds like a good deal, but both Microsoft and Amazon are offering this service from behind a pay wall. They have the backend hardware to offer this kind of convenience to subscribers as well as third-party competitors that lease space, such as Dropbox using Amazon's Simple Storage Service 3 to store its user's files.

Will we see an explosion of free unlimited storage offerings bundled with services, or will the unlimited storage model crash much like unlimited data did in the smartphone segment?

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