Category Archives: DropBox

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Dropbox steps ups European commitment with local signing

DropboxDropbox has announced the appointment of Philip Lacor, who will act as the new VP for EMEA Sales, based out of the Dublin office.

The company has been making notable efforts in recent months to increase its presence in the European market, capitalizing on free-user growth in the region. Aside from Lacor’s appointment, Dropbox has opened offices in Hamburg, Dublin, London, Paris and Amsterdam, as well offering localized payment models in 12 European countries to increase the number of upgrades to the paid-for services.

With the continuing dispute between the EU and US focusing on transatlantic data transmission not looking like it would end in the near future, a number of companies have been identifying means to remove concerns of the European customers. Dropbox has opened several offices around Europe, hired local employees and outlined plans for a European data centre, where as Box has developed its Zones offering through a partnership with IBM. For the Zones offering, customers can opt to have their data stored regionally on the IBM Cloud.

“Dropbox now has over half a billion accounts across the globe and nearly 40% are in Europe, Middle East and Africa,” said Lacor. “I am incredibly excited to support the acceleration of our growth in EMEA, particularly on the Enterprise side. With our Dropbox Business and Dropbox Enterprise products, our business customers can become even more competitive by deploying Dropbox to simplify the way people work together.”

Lacor joins Dropbox from Vodafone in Germany, where he served as the Managing Director for the enterprise division. Prior to Vodafone, Lacor worked for worked at Dell for over 10 years in several European and EMEA-wide roles across sales, marketing and finance.

Dropbox opens Hamburg office to reduce US/EU data concerns

Dropbox GermanyDropbox has announced the opening of its latest European office, branching into the German market ahead of plans to open a new data centre in Europe latter in the year.

The company has answered concerns from European customers regarding the transmission of data across the Atlantic by committing to hosting their data within the EU; a region which the company claims is generating the majority of recent growth. This commitment has also been backed up with the company opening new offices in Dublin, London, Paris and Amsterdam, in addition to Hamburg.

Data residency has been an issue for European customers for a number of months since the Court of Justice of the European Union declared Safe Harbour void last October. Since then, there have been a number of efforts to sooth the relationship between the US and the EU, though the issue still remains contentious and newer drafts Safe Harbour have been criticized by various European quarters.

As Europe represents a healthy growth region for the Dropbox, it would appear the team are not prepared to wait for the EU/US data storm to blow over. Opening a new data centre in Germany has the potential for Dropbox to avoid the repercussions of the long-standing dispute.

“From manufacturing to professional services to healthcare, industries in Europe and around the world are discovering the benefits of increased collaboration on Dropbox,” said Thomas Hansen, Global VP of Revenue at Dropbox. “And the opening of our Hamburg office is just a part of our European commitment.

“From co-working spaces to corporations, people bring Dropbox to work, and adoption in Germany has been phenomenal. The top three cities in terms of Dropbox signups are also the largest: Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. But Karlsruhe and Dresden are the real hotspots when measuring users per capita.”

As with other freemium business models Dropbox has reportedly found difficulties in upgrading customers to the paid-for services. The company launched a new relationship with Adyen last year to offer localized payment models in 12 European countries, build around a direct debit payment mechanism, a more popular model in the European markets, as opposed to PayPal or credit card models.

Dropbox launches Project Infinite to bolster mobility capabilities

Project InfiniteSpeaking at Dropbox Open London, Dropbox has announced the launch of Project Infinite, a new offering which the company claims meets expectations on how people find, access, and collaborates with large amounts of data.

Building on the ideas and new trends of mobility, collaboration and accessibility, Dropbox believe traditional tools, such as shared network drives and browser-based solutions, don’t meet the standards. The company claims Project Infinite will enable customers to work directly from the cloud, removing any concerns about the power and storage capabilities of their device.

“With Project Infinite, we’re addressing a major issue our users have asked us to solve,” said Genevieve Sheehan, Product Manager at Dropbox. “The amount of information being created and shared has exploded, but most people still work on devices with limited storage capacity. While teams can store terabyte upon terabyte in the cloud, most individuals’ laptops can only store a small fraction of that. Getting secure access to all the team’s data usually means jumping over to a web browser, a clunky user experience at best

“Project Infinite will enable users to seamlessly and securely access all their Dropbox files from the desktop, regardless of how much space they have available on their hard drives. Everything in the company’s Dropbox that you’re given access to, whether it’s stored locally or in the cloud, will show up in Dropbox on your desktop. If it’s synced locally, you’ll see the familiar green checkmark, while everything else will have a new cloud icon.”

The company also announced it has been growing in Europe, which is also supported by the appointment of a new European Vice President, Philip Lacor, who joins from Vodafone in Germany. The company now claims to have more than 500 million registered users, as well being used in 52% of companies in the Fortune 500, 33% of companies in the FTSE 100, and 29% of companies in the Global 2000.

Salesforce and Dropbox launch on Facebook’s messenger platform

facebook botSalesforce and Dropbox are two of the first to launch service offerings on Facebook’s new messenger platform.

According to Facebook, Messenger is one of the industry’s fastest growing apps, increasing user rates from 500 million in 2014 to 900 million today. The company have now introduced a number of bot services on the app, allowing businesses to communicate with their customers providing anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages.

“Using Salesforce, businesses are now able to engage with their customers on Facebook Messenger in a whole new way – in fact, Salesforce enables each Messenger interaction to be specifically tailored, based on the context of the entire customer relationship,” said Paul Smith, GM of Salesforce Marketing Cloud in EMEA. “When you remember that most companies are now competing primarily on the customer experience they can deliver, you can begin to see the massive impact of opening up this new channel to businesses: brands will be able to create deeper, more personal 1-to-1 customer journeys within chat. It’s another way in which we’re helping companies to succeed in the Age of the Customer.”

Powered by Salesforce Lightning, the platform will enable customers to deliver personalized engagement at scale with CRM data. The company claims that each message can be linked directly to a customer’s history in the Salesforce CRM platform, enabling brands to deliver personalized messages to customers. The news builds on trends within the industry as vendors aim to create increasingly personalized experiences for customers as a means of meeting the expectations of increasing demanding consumers.

“Now with Messenger, Facebook is inviting companies to engage their customers in new ways on its platform at scale,” said Alex Dayon, Chief Product Officer at Salesforce. “With Salesforce for Messenger companies will be able to easily connect their businesses to Messenger, creating deeper, more personalized and 1-to-1 customer journeys within the chat experience.”

Dropbox has also taken advantage of Facebook’s new platform to increase its own offering. As part of the proposition, users can share files stored on Dropbox’s cloud-storage service directly through Facebook’s messenger app.

“We want people to communicate just the way they want to on Messenger, with everyone they care about,” said Stan Chudnovsky, Head of Product for Messenger at Dropbox on the company’s blog. “Giving our users the ability to share their Dropbox videos and images in Messenger threads with just a few taps will help them bring more style and personality to those conversations.”

While the news has grabbed headlines in a very effective manner, it remains to be seen whether Facebook can police the platform in a way that satisfies consumers. The platform could essentially be seen as an upgrade on SMS advertising which was received coldly by consumers after the initial enthusiasm declined.

Dropbox drops Amazon Web Services for in-house system

Hand Touching A Cloud Secured By Electronic LockDropbox has announced that it will no longer be utilizing Amazon Web Service’s cloud infrastructure, favouring its own in-house solution.

The project, named “Magic Pocket” has been in the works for over two and a half years, and will store and serve over 90% of users’ data on the company’s own custom-built infrastructure. Dropbox was one of Amazon’s first customers to utilize its S3 service to store bulk data eight years ago, but has commented that the relationship will continue in certain areas.

“As the needs of our users and customers kept growing, we decided to invest seriously in building our own in-house storage system,” said Akhil Gupta, Dropbox VP of Engineering. While the company has traditionally stored file content on Amazon, the hosting of metadata and Dropbox web servers has always been in data centres managed by Dropbox itself.

“There were a couple reasons behind this decision. First, one of our key product differentiators is performance. Bringing storage in-house allows us to customize the entire stack end-to-end and improve performance for our particular use case,” said Gupta. “Second, as one of the world’s leading providers of cloud services, our use case for block storage is unique. We can leverage our scale and particular use case to customize both the hardware and software, resulting in better unit economics.”

The company has witnessed healthy growth over recent years, recently passing the milestone of 500 million users and 500 petabytes of user data, prompting the in-house move. Back in 2012, the company only had around 40 petabytes of user data, demonstrating 12-fold growth in the last four years. Dropbox initially began building its own storage infrastructure in 2013, with the company first storing user files in house in February 2015. The team hit its goal of storing 90% of its data in-house on 7 October 2015.

“Magic Pocket became a major initiative in the summer of 2013. We’d built a small prototype as a proof of concept prior to this to get a sense of our workloads and file distributions. Software was a big part of the project, and we iterated on how to build this in production while validating rigorously at every stage,” said Gupta “We knew we’d be building one of only a handful of exabyte-scale storage systems in the world. It was clear to us from the beginning that we’d have to build everything from scratch, since there’s nothing in the open source community that’s proven to work reliably at our scale.”

The move highlights the transition through to private cloud as a business benefit once enterprise reaches a certain level. Zynga is another company who have a similar story, moving between private and public cloud in recent years. Zynga is now in the process of shifting its data back onto in-house infrastructure. Dropbox’s move highlights the potential for overhead reductions when effectively moving onto private cloud, though if the company fails to scale as planned, the move could become a financial burden.

While the move does result in AWS losing a substantial amount of business, it is not the end of the relationship. The team will continue to partner with Amazon for new projects, but will also offer its European customers the opportunity to store data on AWS infrastructure in Germany, should they request it.

Dropbox celebrates 500 million users

Dropbox 500 millionJust over nine years since the launch of its file hosting service Dropbox has announced it has reached the milestone of 500 million users.

According to the company, Dropbox users have created 3.3 billion connections by sharing with each other. To date, the company’s marketing policy seems to revolve around word-of-mouth, as 44% of new accounts were opened when existing users introduced people to the service.

Founded in 2007 by MIT students Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, the early idea arose after Houston repeatedly forgot his USB flash drive. Initially a personal tool for Houston, the potential was soon realized and shortly thereafter seed funding was provided from startup fund Y Combinator.

After initially focusing on the consumer market, Dropbox officially ventured into the B2B space during 2011 and has continued to grow in recent years. Having evolved into Dropbox for Business and then adding Dropbox for Enterprise last year, the service is now used is more than 8 million businesses, with 150,000 using the premium service. Strong growth is expected to continue as 25,000 corporate customers bolster the ranks each quarter.

Dropbox still boasts a strong US following, though recent growth has come from worldwide markets. The team highlighted that 75% of users are based outside the US, with the majority of the last 100 million coming from Germany, US, India, Brazil and the UK.

While Dropbox has received substantial international growth, the brand still experiences resistance from Chinese authorities. The service was banned in the country from May 2010, with most in the community considering the censorship evidence of Dropbox’s growing international popularity and influence. The service was unblocked between February and June 2014, before being reinstated on the censored list. Today, it still remains unclear as to why Dropbox was uncensored for this period.

While user growth has continued, Dropbox has come under scrutiny in recent months following rival Box’s January 2015 IPO, which valued the company significantly lower than expected. The news has put pressure on Dropbox, whose last funding round valued it at $10 billion, though many believe the current value to be substantially lower.

Executives at Dropbox have rigorously defended its position, market capabilities and future outlook, highlighting user growth as a demonstration of market demand. Dennis Woodside recently commented to Forbes “We are continuing the scaling of the business across both consumer and enterprise.”

Box, Dropbox and Egnyte offer cloud storage options for Office

Microsoft Office cloud storageMicrosoft has announced new co-authoring features for users of Office Mobile and Office Online who store their files with cloud services such as Box, Dropbox and Egnyte. Tighter integration with these services means that files can be worked on ‘natively’ as they reside in the cloud service, without users having to come out of their office application.

The new options come nearly a year after the Cloud Storage Partner Program (CSPP) was launched in February 2015, when Microsoft invited cloud storage providers to connect their services to Office Online and Office for iOS. “Today, we’re adding real-time co-authoring with Office Online for documents stored in partner cloud services, extending our Office for iOS integration to all partners in the CSPP and enabling integration between and cloud storage providers Dropbox and Box,” wrote Kirk Koenigsbauer, Microsoft’s corporate VP for the Office team.

Instant co-authoring with Office Online is now available for users with documents stored in Box, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox and Egnyte. Koenigsbauer also invited all Microsoft’s CSPP partners to integrate their storage services with Office for iOS so that users can designate these partner cloud services as ‘places’ in Office, as is possible now with Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. The new changes mean that users can browse for PowerPoint, Word and Excel files on their preferred cloud service from within an Office app without having to interrupt their train of thought by coming out of the application.

Box is now used by 41 million consumers and 54,000 paying businesses, including 55% of the Fortune 500. Among the new features offered are real time co-authoring between Box and Office Online and the integration of Box with Office for iOS and Users can make concurrent, real time edits to content secured in Box including Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Box, an early member in the Cloud Storage Partner Program, has introduced a new application for Windows 10 and integrations with both Office for iPad and iPhone. DropBox and Egnyte both also announced real time co-authoring the ability to collaborate across Powerpoint, word and Excel using documents stored in the cloud.

Adobe tweaks Document Cloud to unblock Dropbox and make e-signing easier

AdobeAdobe has announced two improvements to document management in the cloud, by making PDF files more manageable in Dropbox and solving one of the snags in electronic document signing.

One billion users of Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Acrobat Reader will now be able to edit PDFs as they sit in Dropbox folders, the vendor has announced, as it has worked with Dropbox to simplify the way that PDF files can be edited with Adobe apps.

According to Adobe, the billion mobile devices and desktop computers in the world that have Adobe Acrobat software contain 18 billion PDF files whose functions are limited by Dropbox. The blockage that stopped users from editing those files has now been removed as part of a drive to make Adobe Document Cloud more efficient, the vendor claims.

The improvement was achieved after the two companies integrated their applications and services on mobile devices, desktops and the web, according to Kevin M. Lynch, general manager of Adobe Document Cloud.

Users can now view and edit PDF files stored in their Dropbox Basic, Pro and Dropbox for Business accounts with any changes automatically saved back to Dropbox. Collaboration has also been simplified, Abode claims, as Acrobat DC users can now execute the full range of tasks promised by the application. Editing text on PDF files, organising pages and converting documents to their original format will no longer be hindered by Dropbox environment. Meanwhile, the synchronisation of documents will no longer be restricted by glitches between Adobe and Dropbox operating software.

Adobe has had to adjust as customers have constantly evolved, said Lynch. “Today, mobile has become the rule and people expect to complete work quickly and simply wherever and whenever they need. Our work with Dropbox will help Document Cloud customers be more productive,” said Lynch.

Adobe has also created new options for e-signing in Document Cloud in a bid to make electronic document management easier. New functions include a visual drag-and-drop Workflow Designer, digital signatures (a more advanced secure form of e-signatures) and Enterprise Mobility Management and Signature Capture.

Adobe said it has worked with Workday, Salesforce and Ariba to add e-signing options to their respective HR, sales, procurement and legal systems.

Bryan Lamkin, Adobe digital media’s general manager, promised, “a new level of efficiency”.

Dropbox promotes former Google engineer to infrastructure lead

Akhil Gupta DropboxDropbox has promoted one of its lead engineers, Akhil Gupta, to vice president of infrastructure, the latest in a series of executive shakeups at the firm.

Gupta has been with Dropbox for the past three years and has helped the company develop its infrastructure strategy. As vice president of infrastructure he will continue to oversee physical and technical infrastructure operations and security, and lead the company’s datacentre scale-out globally.

Before joining Dropbox Gupta spent seven years with Google, managing the search giant’s advertising technical infrastructure.

The infrastructure appointment comes amidst a broader executive shakeup at the cloud storage firm.

Last month the company hired Thomas Hansen, who most recently served as worldwide vice president of small and medium business at Microsoft where he led SME sales globally, to the newly created role of global vice president of sales & channel. It also hired former Twitter product management specialist Todd Jackson as Dropbox’s first vice president of product.

With the new hires Dropbox is looking to bolster its position in the enterprise, the quickest way to gaining seats, against rivals like Box, which heavily targets niche verticals and large traditional organisations as well as startups and smaller firms. Dropbox claims to have over 100,000 business and 400 million users on its platform while Box maintain it has closer to 44,000 organisations as customers.