"Office Graph is described as part of Office 365's portfolio, thus becoming one more indicator that Microsoft is going to be driving a lot of value through the cloud, applying soft pressure on customers reluctant to move," Keitt said.
Microsoft is also boosting the developer tools for Office 365, an area where the suite has been weak. The company announced it will release an SDK (software development kit) for Windows 8 and Android for programmers to build applications that can tap into Office 365 data and services. Microsoft is also sharpening existing Office 365 APIs for PowerPoint and Outlook and prepping new APIs for Office 365 files, contacts, email, calendar and tasks.
"Microsoft's key deficiency in its Office 365 strategy was that it did not embrace an API model, unlike many other cloud collaboration providers. This made it a less inviting offering to the ISVs that have flocked to join ecosystems around competitive offerings from Google and Salesforce.com," Keitt said. "So this is a step in the right direction."
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.