How does it feel to wake up a few days before your company’s IPO to discover your rival just made a smart acquisition? We don’t know, and Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie can’t tell us:He's in a quiet period mandated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which prohibits him from making such comments.
But here’s the deal. Early this morning Dropbox announced that it now owns CloudOn, a top 10 workplace productivity app in 120 countries. CloudOn makes it easy for people to edit, create, organize and share docs on any platform.
This should yield big wins for Dropbox (and its 300 million users) for several reasons. First because CloudOn brings with it an attractive mobile UI for content creation and collaboration as well as the team of engineers who built it. And second because the 100,000 companies who use Dropbox for Business will be able to do more of their work in Dropbox without ever having to leave the platform. The win for the enterprise? Productivity.
In the past few months Dropbox for Business has become significantly stickier.
In November it announced a partnership with Microsoft, which makes it easy for Office users to edit Office documents right from their Dropbox mobile apps, and to access Dropbox from within their Office apps. In fact, Dropbox will literally be embedded into Microsoft Office.
Last month Dropbox began rolling out Project Harmony which makes collaboration smarter. It has the ability to: show you (in near real time) who else is viewing or editing the file you’re working with; check to see if there’s a more recent version of the file, and give the option to update with just a click; generate a link to share the document, without ever leaving the application, and more.
CloudOn’s assets, including the talent of its team, should continue to build on Dropbox for Business’s appeal.
There’s one other thing that Dropbox is getting in the CloudOn deal: An office in Israel, which, by most accounts, is a hotbed of tech talent. Dropbox already employs engineers in other tech hubs like San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Dublin.
What About the Timing?
It’s certainly worth asking why Dropbox chose today, just two days before Box’s anticipated IPO, to make this announcement. One could have nothing to do with the other, but then again, investors and others who are researching might very well be interested in checking out Dropbox as well.