The thing with Mailbox is that it was truly a great product before it switched hands to Dropbox. Once they bought it, that was the end of good functions and the product only went downhill from there.
There's a lot of potential with email clients that will help you work better, Mailbox was definitely one of those products that helped. With good clients for Mac and PC along with smartphones it would also be profitable IMHO.
The only thing I can think of is that Dropbox is headed for major firing rounds and they want to save up on resources.
I have switched to Airmail on my Mac and I am much happier now.
Dropbox is obviously planning to go a different direction with its core product strategy, so that makes sense to me, but those products were too good to just let die. I'm sure someone would be willing to take them off of Dropbox's hands.
I just don't get how you can spend 100m$ on something and just let it die.
What did Dropbox get out of this deal?
SV is depressing sometimes.
I can tell you that behind the scenes it was far from a well architected service, and the only reason why it was able to ditch the signup waitlist and ultimately handle the needs of its userbase was entirely due to the Dropbox acquisition.
Looking at it from the outside, it seemed that Dropbox initially just continued the initial product velocity that existed from before the purchase.
After a while it seemed that the development lost steam, features were lagging and it seemed that they lost interest.
I am sure it wasn't a very well architected service and beyond that growth was "controlled" by the invite system (which ironically only fueled the growth).
The Dropbox acquisition had a lot of potential, mainly in fueling the growth by adding people/servers and ops knowledge.
So yeah, they ditched the invite system and a lot more people were using the product but what's that worth if the end decision is to drop the product all together?
What I'm failing to understand here (and I will admit it's due to non-existent investment knowledge) is what did Dropbox get out of the 100mm paid on the product and what led the decision to drop it now.
As far as what Dropbox got out of the acquisition: no idea. I know there was a lot of interest in the Mailbox team, and they were immediately given a much broader purview post-acquisition (much like the founding team of Cove when they got acquired). Ultimately I don't really think that parachuting in founders to take over parts of your company works -- three out of the four of those people no longer work for Dropbox, for instance. However, at the time Dropbox clearly craved adult supervision, and I think that was seen as the way to get it.
Oh, and if you have a product people like, that doesn't hurt either. I just found it maddening that Mailbox was built from day one not to make money, and that problem was never solved. That sort of thing can only last for so long.