As online office software tries to move into big corporations, it’s starting to work more closely with entrenched solutions — which often means technology built by Microsoft. In the latest example, Zoho just announced plans to offer its collaboration services as an add-on for SharePoint, Microsoft’s server and software for collaboration and document management.
Basically, that means you can use Zoho Office as the interface for collaborative editing of documents, while the documents themselves sit safely on the SharePoint server, behind the corporate firewall. The add-on brings a more web-like interface to SharePoint; rather than having to check documents in and out as they work on them, multiple users can jump into a document and edit it at once, and also send instant messages back-and-forth within their application using Zoho Chat.
This is a smart way to get Zoho into companies that wouldn’t consider making the full jump into online office applications, but want to experiment with these kinds of tools without sacrificing security or throwing away existing hardware. The financial investment is small, too — a 30-day trial period, followed by $2 per user per month if companies pay for a year, or $3 per user per month if companies pay by month.
Google is trying to accommodate Microsoft fans too, most recently by integrating online office software Google Apps with Microsoft’s email program Outlook.