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Dropbox News & Analysis

The 'Drives Race' - The Battle for Cloud-Based File Storage

2014-05-September-Buy-of-the-Week.jpgInspiration comes from strange places. Last week on the radio I heard a DJ talking about how he still uses his VCR (for those of you that are too young to remember, that is what preceded DVRs). My first memory of VCRs was in a commercial that ran during an interview with Ronald Reagan. Although I was too young to understand the point, Reagan spent much of the interview discussing how we must rebuild our military, which was later branded by pundits as another “Arms Race.” Hence the name for this post. But back to the VCR ....

In that commercial, the VCRs were advertised for upward of $500 (that’s around $1000 in today’s money), but as more options came out, prices started falling. When DVDs came out, VCRs dropped under $100 and it seemed that they would soon be relegated to the scrap heap next to record players. Yet many households still have VCRs (and record players). Mine is disconnected, sitting in a cardboard box and likely doesn’t even work, but I am not throwing it away. The thing is, I still have a lot of tapes. Between kids’ birthday parties, family dinners and even videos of my old dog, I feel better knowing it’s there.

Cloud-based storage (and Drives in particular) share many similarities with VCRs.

Look What Dropbox for Business Has Made Available Now

Dropbox doesn’t have to worry much about gaining an enterprise footprint, the reality is that it’s already huge. There are over 4 million unique companies using the service, according to Ilya Fushman, head of product, Dropbox for Business. And there are likely to be a good number of users within each one. Consider that Dropbox, as a whole, has more than 300 million users, many of whom use Dropbox in the workplace -- with or without their employers’ blessings.

We’re in an era of consumerized IT where the worker, rather than IT, chooses the tools. And according to a survey released by mobile gateway provider Wandera, Dropbox is 13 times more popular in the enterprise than file sync and share competitor Box and nine times more popular than Google Drive.

That being said, it’s only in the last 18 months that Dropbox has actively and seriously gone after business customers. This has meant rethinking what they bring to market. After all, as a consumer you own your content, in the workplace it belongs to your employer and it’s under their purview to protect, track and control it.

A Graceful Exit for Box?

2014-18-August-Exit.jpgJust a little more than two weeks from today, on Sept. 2, Box CEO Aaron Levie will host BoxWorks, the company’s biggest pep rally of the year. There’s a nice line-up of all-stars keynoting — Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Disney’s Jeff Katzenberg, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner and Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States.

And then, of course, there’s Levie himself. Not only is he Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year, but he’s also got celebrity-like status in Silicon Valley. Never mind his Hollywood connections to the likes of Ashton Kutcher, who invested in Box, and Oscar winner Jared Leto who reportedly visited the company earlier this year.

Think Dropbox Isn't Serious About the Enterprise? Think Again

2014-11-August-Jogging.jpgWe’ve all been there: Someone sends us a document that we need to review, edit or approve and the only device we have handy is a mobile phone. Sure, there are some who schlepp around phones, iPads and laptops for this, but there’s no way I’m going to do that on a 10 mile run, while running out for coffee or at lunch with my husband or boss. And an iWatch -- even if it comes out next month -- isn’t likely to be of any help.

And though many EFSS solutions provide document previews that are accessible via a mobile device, they can still be hard to work with.

Dropbox knew this, that’s why today it's releasing a new Android app that the company says will make the “Dropbox mobile app experience as fast, seamless and efficient as possible.” That way you can get your work done on the spot, wherever you happen to be.

Startup Offers Free Collaboration Option for Any Web Page

Just as Microsoft blends Yammer into Office365, a startup is offering a free service to add a Facebook-like collaboration tool to any web page.

Lifestreams Technologies, a 2-year-old company based in New Haven, Conn., said the widget can be used on any intranet or public-facing website by adding a snippet of code to the html.

"Most websites today are relatively static," said Peter Prosol, business development director for the 10-person SaaS firm. "You'll find pictures and images and text, but it's more or less as it is. It doesn't change much. But adding a timeline to your site ... it lets you be more dynamic, add new content, refresh and be a little more interactive and engaging to the user."

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).

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.

Microsoft Moves to Win Cloud, EFSS and Other Markets

Storing, synching, editing and/or sharing files in the cloud has suddenly become big business. Startups like Box, Dropbox, and Syncplicity (now owned by EMC) sensed this long ago because their founders rightly predicted that the knowledge workers of the future wouldn’t want to be emailing files to themselves and keeping track of various versions any more than they did. Ditto for carrying thumb drives around.

Fast forward a few years and the market cap for enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) services may be as big as a trillion dollars. It’s no wonder giants like Citrix, EMC, Google and Microsoft all want part (or all) of that action. Winning is critical to their ability to gain, or even retain, Enterprise market share.

As we’ve written before, Microsoft isn’t sitting back and watching as Google and Amazon race to the bottom on the price of cost storage. And while part of the reason they are doing this is to sell the Azure platform, the other part is retaining Microsoft Office, Office 365 and SharePoint market share. After all, as Enterprises map their cloud strategies, they’ll likely look at all of their options versus simply lobbing what they have on the ground to the sky.

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.

Showdown at the Mobile Enterprise Corral

2014-07-July-Cowboy-Graffiti.jpgWhy have so many mobile enterprise companies made financial announcements within the last few weeks? In the mobile device management (MDM) space, Good Technology has filed an S1 to go public and MobileIron successfully executed an IPO. In the File Sync and Share (FSS) space, Dropbox announced a $500M line of credit after having raised $325M in funding only months earlier, and Box just announced another $100M investment.

Why these companies … and why now?

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.”

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.

Can Dropbox Buy Its Way into the Enterprise?

2014-11-June-IntheDoor.jpgIf you don’t have enough time or talent to build it, maybe you can buy it. At least if you have as much money as Dropbox.

OK, we admit that we’re being a bit sarcastic here, but we actually have enough information to present a pretty good case around Dropbox trying to buy its way into the Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) market.

We won’t bore you with all of the details, but consider that last week Dropbox acquired Droptalk and that late yesterday MobileSpan announced that it had been acquired by Dropbox as well. 

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