Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dropbox Facing More Competitive Heat, Strong Enough To Stay Independent?

Dropbox, a cloud-based storage that provides 2 GB of free storage to anyone who wants it.  It's a great solution that many mobile warriors, on just about any platform, Android or iOS, can appreciate.  However, in the last six months, it has had to face a mounting number of deep pocket competitors like Apple and Microsoft.  Looks like Google will soon join the cloud storage war with its own 5GB free solution.

The question for me is how long does Dropbox have to show that it can stand alone or will it face so much competition that it will eventually be a takeover target.  Dropbox offers 2 GB of free storage while competitions offer around 5 GB.  So, it's not difficult to conclude that we Dropbox users can see an increase in free storage pretty soon.

Unlike its competitors like SkyDrive and iCloud, Dropbox doesn't have a lot much else to offer.  It's early lead in mobile integration with both Android and iOS apps should give it a large head-start in the cloud storage race but if we learn anything from the last couple of years in mobile, it's that things are changing quickly.

Android came out of nowhere and took the mobile market by storm, taking more than 50% of the global smartphone OS share.  iOS users are embracing iCloud with well over 100 million users.  While I don't have any hard numbers for Microsoft's SkyDrive adoption, you can bet uptake of Google Drive will be fast and furious among savvy hundreds of millions of Android and Google users.

Dropbox's hope hinges on new features, like URL-based links it introduced yesterday.  During its beta-testing, I played with the photo-upload feature that I like very much.  Such new features are greatly appreciated.  However, I doubt they are enough over the long run to fight off more patient competitors like Microsoft and Google.

Maybe Dropbox will surprise us.  But I can't help but feel that it could soon be looking for a buyer.  All I know is that it best not be Facebook.  Yeah, I know that you know that I know you know how I fee about Facebook.  Unlike Instagram where its users are fine with sharing, I fear someone like Facebook buying Dropbox is just scary.  Hopefully, if Dropbox does become a takeover target, it would not be a company that depends on selling user information to make a buck.

We'll have to see just how this cloud storage front of the mobile war plays out.  I plan on using all of the above mention services, including Box.net.  In all, I have a total of 60 GB of cloud storage.  65 GB as soon as Google releases its drive.  I'm loving it all.

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