Microsoft just made two deals that never would have happened under Steve Ballmer

Microsoft has been playing nice since its new CEO Satya Nadella came on board early last year.

One of the biggest changes since Microsoft turned over a new leaf is that Nadella has been able to turn some of his most bitter rivals into important partners — a strategy that wasn’t part of former CEO Steve Ballmer’s vision. For example, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff only says good things about Microsoft these days, while Box CEO Aaron Levie lauded Nadella during its recent earnings call.

On Tuesday, Microsoft was part of another two big announcements that show how it’s been cozying up to its competitors lately.

NetSuite, the $US7 billion cloud business software maker, announced a strategic alliance deal with Microsoft where its users will find it easier to integrate with Office 365 and Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform for building software. It will offer things like single sign-on for quicker access to Azure, while making data integration between NetSuite and Excel a lot faster.

The other announcement came from Dropbox. With its new iOS update, Dropbox users will now be able to create Microsoft Office documents right within the iOS app for Dropbox. That means users will no longer have to wait until they get to their computer with Microsoft Office to create a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file, and they can edit it anywhere with their iOS device.

This all highlights that Microsoft is now fully committed to working with their competitors to expand its footprint in the cloud technology space. Historically, Microsoft has been known for playing hardball with its rivals, often cutting off their competitors’ access to its platform and preferring to build its own, silo’d software instead — a strategy that earned a lot of flak under Nadella’s predecessor Steve Ballmer.

“The other guy [former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer] did not care about having a relationship with Salesforce. In fact, he kind of did everything he could to not have a relationship with Salesforce,” Benioff once said in an interview.

If anything, Microsoft’s warmer approach is earning the respect of its industry peers, and it’s putting it in a better position to compete in the cloud enterprise space.

“This is good news for Microsoft as well — it further legitimises Microsoft’s cloud platform against the likes of Amazon, etc.,” Rebecca Wettemann, VP of Research at research firm Nucleus Research, told us. “And [this] gives it more legitimacy in the enterprise apps space.”

NOW WATCH: Watch Microsoft’s Insane Holographic Computer In Action

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.