Microsoft announces platform integration with Office 2016

Microsoft’s annual BUILD conference happened earlier this week, with developer events continuing throughout today, and we got a good look into the next versions of most services on Windows 10.

One of the big changes coming to Office 2016 is platform integration, allowing users to download ‘add-ins’ on all of the programs. Microsoft showed off a few of these add-ins already built for Office 2016, which will release later this year alongside Windows 10.

The first was DocuSign for Word, allowing users to add a digital signature to documents. This removes the painful process of downloading (or finding) Adobe Reader, or finding another third-party document signature program.

Outlook also received a few add-ins, with LinkedIn and Salesforce.com both integrating with the email client to show more information on the sender. Both services tap into databases to check the email sender, linking it to a profile on LinkedIn or Salesforce.com.

Microsoft has also integrated Outlook with Uber, allowing users to order a cab through the email client. Outlook already offers navigation to a place if specified in the email, and will offer an Uber cab.

These add-ins are similar to Facebook’s Messenger Platform, allowing third-party developers to create over-the-top applications that run inside the program. Office 2016 has various potential OTT apps, especially for enterprise companies looking to plug-in to Excel, Access and other programs.

It is a more open approach to its own applications, previously working on all integration without third-party help. Microsoft has had a more open developer approach since Satya Nadella started leading the company, showing his attempt to revitalise Microsoft’s developer community.