Last weekend wasn’t an awesome one for Dropbox, their outage caused consternation in the Twitterverse as many people suggested it was yet another example of Dropbox not yet being enterprise ready. I’ve had a deluge of emails from competing vendors since then pointing out just why their solution has been validated by the Dropbox. But if you’re enterprise sync and share vendor Box you don’t just send out a press release, you really hit Dropbox while it’s down by offering a new mobile application and a hefty free storage amount to users.
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Now obviously this product development was in progress anyway, but it’s hard not to think that Box opportunistically took advantage of Dropbox’s pain to push the announcement out today.
The new application for iOS claims increased load speed for files and also lets users move and delete multiple files in one go – something that was lacking previously. David Still from Box has more in this company blog post. Still isn’t shy at making barbs at the consumer solutions on one end, and the more robust but hard to use traditional enterprise solutions on the other. He writes that:
Our goal is to provide the very best user experience along with all the security and controls needed by enterprises to easily share, manage and access information from anywhere. And this release offers our iOS users a high-performance, business productivity app with simplicity, elegance and beautiful design.
The company has launched a new site as part of its ecosystem development initiatives, getonthecloud.com highlights third party mobile applications built on the Box platform. While that is exciting, it’s hard to look past Box’s moves in the free offering arms race – while it’s a limited time offer for users who sign up in the next month, it shows just how competitive this space is – free samples are a great solution whether you’re doing file storage or hard drugs. Either way it’s about getting people hooked so they won’t want to leave. A larger player like Box can have a progressive approach towards free trials and it’s a good way to keep user growth momentum growing, despite the large number of startups turning away from freemium in the space.
Leading up to the Box IPO this year, it’s a logical move to get user traction, and people in the market for a solution will no doubt notice the fact that 50GB is far more than the 2GB of free storage that Dropbox offers. Dropbox itself is heading for an IPO this year so expect them to respond in kind.
For those of us watching, this race for customer numbers is very entertaining. For the vendors, however, it introduces a world of pain and massive costs. It’s lucky that both Box and Dropbox have raised huge amounts of money at glorious valuations to pay for all of that.