Microsoft to grow Office 365's capacity to import contacts from third-party tools

Some Office 365 editions can tap contacts data from LinkedIn and Facebook

By , IDG News Service |  Enterprise Software, Microsoft Office, Office 365

The revamped LinkedIn Contacts has been designed to aggregate information from a broader variety of sources than previously possible. LinkedIn Contacts can grab contact data not just from LinkedIn but also from a variety of third-party email services, address books and calendars, including those in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook and iPhone, and from applications like CardMunch, Evernote and TripIt. A LinkedIn spokeswoman confirmed that it can import contacts data from Office 365's Exchange Online.

However, it lacks integration with Facebook and Twitter, and hasn't been designed to tap enterprise applications like CRM software and ERP suites.

In their respective announcements, LinkedIn and Microsoft expressed their desire to be their users' primary contacts repository. Accomplishing this obviously gives a big usage advantage to the chosen software, especially with the recent emphasis on "social" applications both at home and at work, which put individuals at the center of their personal networking and professional collaboration.

As vendors jockey for position, it'll be interesting to see who ends up controlling this contacts management space -- if anybody -- and what competitive moves they make to both access external data and to prevent rivals from mining their contacts data for their advantage.

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.

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