Nov 17, 2013

Dropbox hits 200 million users,improves its offering for businesses

Dropbox Inc unveiled what it described as one of the most comprehensive upgrades to its service for businesses, including a feature that allows users to easily maintain both personal and corporate accounts.

The new features come at a time when large rivals like Microsoft Corp and Amazon Inc and smaller competitors are battling to win the cloud-storage market ,which is widely seen as a strategic  in the era of mobile computing.

The upgrades reflect the changing business focus at Dropbox - one of the most closely-watched privately held Internet companies - toward becoming a file-sharing solution for corporate customer, a critically important and lucrative market. Dropbox, valued at $4 billion by venture capital investors, is viewed as a hot prospect for an initial public offering within the next two or three years.

Dropbox said  it would let users store files in separate accounts in order to separate their personal and professional lives. The corporate Dropboxes, which are controlled by the user's employer's IT administrators, would also have additional security tools such as logs that track when files have been opened or moved. Administrators could also remotely wipe files from mobile devices connected to the corporate Dropbox.

The announcement came on the same day Amazon unveiled a similar tool called WorkSpaces for large enterprises at an event in Las Vegas.

Dropbox offers limited amounts of storage for free to individual consumers, which had been its focus. The company said Wednesday it has 200 million consumer-grade accounts.

Dropbox for Business costs $795 a year for unlimited storage for five users and $125 for each additional user. The service has 4 million subscribers so far, Chief Executive Drew Houston said.

Ilya Fushman, the head of product for business, told Reuters that Dropbox identified its business products as the top priority for 2013.


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