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Document Collaboration News & Analysis

Dropbox for Business Raises Its Sync and Share Game

Dropbox isn’t particularly interested in what Box, Syncplicity, Citrix or any other of the 100 plus companies who are fighting for their share of the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) market are up to.

“We’re the market leader, we don’t worry about what others do,” said Ilya Fushman, head of product, Dropbox for Business. Instead, he said, the company looks at the features and functions its customers request and builds and delivers those that the make the most sense.

And with 80,000 companies paying to use Dropbox for Business (Box claims 34,000 in the S-1 it filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission), it’s hard to argue with the strategy. It’s clear some buyers opt for the experience Dropbox has to offer vs. who Gartner rates higher in its Magic Quadrant (MQ).

Who Will Become a Gartner MQ EFSS Challenger in 2015?

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When Gartner released its inaugural Magic Quadrant for the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) market, it predicted that by 2017 less than 10 percent of today's destination vendors would offer stand-alone products. That means that as many as 80 of those who are offering services today (there are well over 120), will have been absorbed into adjacent markets, such as collaboration, enterprise content management (ECM), mobility and storage.

What it didn’t articulate as clearly, as we see it, is how quickly the vendors mentioned in the study are raising their games, we reported on four different instances of this in the past week alone.

Who will succeed? Who will be acquired? And who will fade away? 

Can Box Overcome Its Bad Timing?

Thumbnail image for 2014-16-July-Jump.jpgBox, once a clear-cut darling, has had a rough 2014. It delayed its IPO due to a softening SaaS stock market. This forced another financing round that was less than favorable for it. Add in Apple and Amazon entering the Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) world, and it's safe to say things are getting challenging for Box. Can Box weather these challenges and pull the entire EFSS market along with it?

Box Takes Storage Limits Off the Table

The file storage wars are over, at least for businesses leveraging Box’s Enterprise Content Collaboration platform.

“It’s no longer about how much content you can store, but what you can do with it,” says Aaron Levie, Box’s co-founder and CEO.

Truth be told, it was always about that, but file storage wasn’t always dirt cheap. Now it is. Levie says that the price has dropped by a factor of over 20,000 over the past two decades.
 

About Time! Microsoft Office is Coming to Android Tablets

When Satya Nadella took the reins as Microsoft’s CEO, he set a new vision for the company. Microsoft would now be designing, developing and delivering solutions for a Mobile First, Cloud First world. 

This is a world where there are multiple types of mobile devices that run on multiple operating systems. To succeed in this world, as a software provider, you have to play nicely with all of them and in all of them. Nadella knows this.

July 11 Update: Microsoft will now be adding OneNote to Android devices as well. The company launched the Android beta program today. This falls in line nicely with Nadella’s impassioned memo to employees yesterday (which was really meant to customers and stockholders) which said:

Our passion is to enable people to thrive in this mobile-first and cloud-first world. We have described ourselves as a 'devices and services' company. While the devices and services description was helpful in starting our transformation, we now need to hone in on our unique strategy."

The strategy he’s referring to is one of digital work and life experiences, which would, no doubt, be better with One Note on all your devices.

Amazon Wants In on the Enterprise Sync and Share Action Too

Just yesterday we wrote that the file storage, synching and sharing market may be as big as one trillion dollars. When Amazon found out about it, they went and built their own EFSS offering.

OK, maybe it wasn’t our article that inspired AWS, but they did introduce an Enterprise Storage and Sharing service today. Its name? Zocalo.

Available in limited preview starting now, its primary functions seem to be primitive versions of what the Leaders and Challengers in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for EFSS have to offer.

Meet the Challengers: Gartner's MQ for EFSS

The Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) Market is competitive, to say the least. Last year’s strong performer can become leader of the pack in as little as a year. EMC Syncplicity proved that when it went from a Positive (Vs Strong Positive) in Gartner’s Marketscope last year to a Leader in its EFSS Magic Quadrant this year.

Which “Challenger” will broaden its vision and build out its capabilities quickly enough to make it into the Leader’s Quadrant by 2015?

Let’s take a closer look at what Gartner’s EFSS Challengers (Dropbox, Google, IBM and Microsoft) have to offer and where Gartner said they fall short. If you haven’t read our coverage on Gartner’s overall report and the MQ Leaders, it’s here.

Cha-Ching! Box Gets More Cash

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It’s raining money, at least in Los Altos, Calif., that is. Box has reportedly received a $150 million round of funding, which the Wall Street Journal reports will be used to hold the company over until IPO waters get warmer.

This comes only hours after the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) vendor was publicly announced as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

The investors, we can now confirm, are TPG Growth, which will appoint a director to Box’s Board of Directors, and Coatue Management, which incidentally just lost an incoming executive to Twitter, where he is now the CFO.

Gartner Rates Enterprise File Sync and Share Vendors

As anyone who reads CMSWire regularly already knows, the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) market is hotter than hot. The 100+ players within it introduce new features and new releases almost as often as soccer's Tim Howard saves goals.

So it’s no wonder that Gartner, in its newly released Magic Quadrant for EFSS, notes that the market is maturing and that vendors are working hard to differentiate themselves.

Will Dropbox's New Feature Be Enough?

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Dropbox wants legitimacy in the Enterprise, and it’s racing to get all the boxes (no pun intended) checked that will win it official entry through company doors. 

To be fair, according to Dropbox for Business product manager Anand Subramani, they already have 4 million users in businesses. We haven’t called any of them to ask if they’re spending a dime on the service; in fact, it would be interesting to know how many of them are personal accounts or shadow IT.

But as we’ve asked workers at large enterprises to try to create accounts on the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) service, the most common response we get is “it’s blocked.”

What Microsoft Will Do to Keep Your Business

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Dropbox wants Enterprises to store their content in Dropbox. Box wants it in Box. Egnyte, Accellion, Syncplicity … you get the picture. They all want to be your provider as well.

And Microsoft has something to lose if it lets that happen. And it’s not the dollars (you pay for services on the aforementioned vendors’ clouds as units of storage) that these other companies could potentially earn.

The world’s largest software company needs you to keep living and working in its products, like Office and SharePoint, which you wouldn’t have to do if you stored your stuff on these other clouds.

Box Notes Takes Flight

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Finding Box Notes in your Box iOS app may not seem like that big deal. But for Box users who want to create simple content or collaborate with their team mates while on the road, it could be huge.

Launch the Box app on your iPhone or iPad, select “Create a Note” and you’re in business. There’s no need to download software or open the premium Office app. Same holds true for Google Docs, Evernote or whatever.

Plus the option to create, share, discuss and work together with others in real time or offline is simply there. And get this, you’re always in sync, always on the Cloud, and you’re not breaking any compliance rules while you’re at it.

Like with Box itself, Enterprise worthiness is a given.

Box Watch No. 2: $100M More, Please

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Maybe Re/code has a bug  (of the non-insect variety) planted in Aaron Levie’s hair or an electronic tracking device imbedded in his shoes. But somehow the site has learned — and is now reporting —that Box is considering taking on $100 million from investors.

Re/code reported that Box is in the early stages of talks with private equity firm TPG. It quoted “sources familiar with the matter,” adding that “no final decision has been made on whether or not to accept the funding”.

Box Watch: We're Talking About the IPO Again

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You know Box boss Aaron Levie can’t be sleeping too well — every time the guy blinks (or doesn’t) there’s news about his company’s impending IPO.

And as much as Levie would probably like to comment every now and then, he’s got to keep his lips zipped.

You can almost picture Box advisors and investors like former Microsoft bigwig Steve Sinofsky, Glen Tullman, former US Government CTO Aneesh Chopra and others like venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, taking turns following Levie around with a roll of tape or a gag of some sort chanting “not a word.” Or maybe they’re threatening to break his Twitter finger. Horowitz recently wrote a book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things.

Well, Aaron, not saying anything back when people are saying things about you is hard.

Will Streem(ing) Make Box More Alluring to Enterprises?

Box wants to be the place where enterprises store, sync and share their content. We’re talking all of your content, all of the time, regardless of its format or size.

Today Box’s head honcho, Aaron Levie announced the acquisition of Streem, a YCombinator startup that has developed a means of accessing all of your content stored in the cloud via your desktop.

What’s interesting about Streem is that it has developed StreemFS, a new file system that is supposed to turn the cloud into an extension of your hard drive.

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