Dropbox CEO Touts 150,000 Business Customers, Goes After Box

  • CEO Drew Houston took shots at rival Box without naming it
  • Dropbox's lead among corporate users has been declining

Dropbox Inc. said it has 150,000 total business customers, in a bid to promote its position in an area where rivals are cutting into the cloud-storage provider’s lead.

The company added 50,000 paying business customers -- including News Corp. and Expedia Inc. -- in the past 10 months, Chief Executive Officer Drew Houston said at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday. He also announced a new product, called Dropbox Enterprise, targeted at large customers. Rival Box Inc., which held an initial public offering in January, has promoted itself as the top choice for large businesses.

Houston is bolstering efforts to woo more users amid growing competition in a crowded market that’s projected to reach almost $2 billion this year, according to IDC. Dropbox was No. 1 with a 24 percent share in 2014, followed by Microsoft Corp.’s 19 percent, the researcher said. Box Inc., Apple Inc. and Google rounded out the top five. Among business users, Dropbox has a slimmer lead with 22.7 percent, compared with Box’s 21.3 percent and Microsoft’s 21.1 percent, according to IDC.

Dropbox Inc. signage is displayed at the Brooklyn Beta conference in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Photographer: Mark Ovaska/Bloomberg

Houston took a jab at Box without naming the company, talking about how it has had to hire staff to sell to corporate customers, while Dropbox has been able to rely on its consumer users taking the product into their workplaces. 
"One thing that always cracks me up is -- it’s kind of funny when people are like oh... Dropbox isn’t serious about business or we’re only about consumers when it’s really all the consumers that have brought us into all those businesses," Houston said.

He also said Box has a total of 50,000 business customers, the same amount Dropbox added in 10 months. Box issued a statement before the Dropbox-hosted event to promote its own corporate bona fides, saying that it has 52 percent of the Fortune 500 as customers.

"Dropbox has tried to play catch up to our enterprise product strategy for years, but serving millions of free consumer users is profoundly different from powering the world’s largest enterprises," Box said in the e-mailed statement.

Dropbox Enterprise will have simplified tools for rolling the product out to thousands of users and will include collaboration features. Dropbox also said it will offer new mobile software for enterprise management in the first quarter.

Dropbox’s paid business version lets users distinguish between personal and business documents and gives IT staff more control over the latter. The company was valued at $10 billion when it last raised venture funding.

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