EMC and Microsoft are substantially stepping up their existing enterprise content management (ECM) relationship to provide tighter integration between EMC\u2019s Documentum ECM software and Microsoft\u2019s Office, Outlook and SharePoint products.As part of the expanded relationship announced Tuesday, EMC\u2019s Documentum will support Microsoft\u2019s SQL Server 2005 database later this quarter, according to John McCormick, vice president of product management, content management software at EMC.EMC also plans to bring out two services designed to link Documentum and Microsoft software content and archiving, he said. The two services are set to debut early in the first quarter of 2007 as Microsoft releases SharePoint Server 2007. EMC expects to release pricing for the two services: EMC Documentum Content Services for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 and EMC Documentum Archive Services for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 later this year.The idea is to have Microsoft software as the front end for Documentum software as a way to increase the number of users of EMC\u2019s products and give more Microsoft customers easier access to complex ECM functionality.It\u2019s the same strategy Microsoft is adopting with a number of applications partners, notably with SAP around the Duet product, said Rob Bernard, general manager of Microsoft\u2019s global independent software vendor team. Formerly known as Project Mendocino, Duet was jointly developed by Microsoft and SAP to let users access data and processes from SAP\u2019s back-end business applications via Microsoft\u2019s front-end desktop Office software suite."This is the culmination of a vision we\u2019ve been working on for a number of years," Bernard said. "It\u2019s about unifying the front end with the back end that the casual user needs to interact with in ECM, ERP and CRM."Using the upcoming Documentum archive services, users can manually or automatically flow content from SharePoint repositories to a Documentum repository while enabling users to access and search the content from the SharePoint Server 2007 software. Archiving SharePoint content in Documentum should help companies in meeting compliance regulations, McCormick said. Unlike Duet, the services are only being offered by EMC. The previous ECM relationship between EMC and Microsoft was more reactive than proactive, Bernard said. McCormick agreed. "Before, we worked on [Documentum] integration with Office and Outlook 2003," he said. "Microsoft supplied the tools; EMC or our partners built out the solution. This is different. EMC and Microsoft are together." As yet, the two companies aren\u2019t working together on Web content management, but that could be a logical next step to further expand their relationship, the executives noted.Related Links:\n\nEMC Launches New Data Mgmt. Software\n\nHP Taps Microsoft Software for SMB Storage\n\nOpen Source Co. Enters Web Content Mgmt. ArenaThis article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page.\u00a0For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.