Synced storage might be big enough problem for it to continue to grow bigger, but I wonder if it's a meaningful moat. What if the storage + software gets commoditized to an extent that it becomes essentially free for most people?
I pay Dropbox because I can rely on their backups any place at any time, not because their storage is cheap.
A company with a very large valuation needs either very large sales figures OR large growth potential. Dropbox is squarely in the second category, which is why they need to keep expanding.
In other words startups have a small chance of being worth a much larger X, and Exxon has a very large chance of being worth a slightly larger X. If you need zero risk buy government bonds not stock.
Importantly, when you buy stock from a someone other than the company then the price you pay has little to do with the company. But, again my point is risk is an inherent part of the process. If you invest in a startup and they use all of that money to buy government bonds and then fold in five years you would be pissed because they avoided risking your capital.
Those people aren't investing they're speculating. They're not there primarily to see Dropbox succeed they're shareholders because they want to get rich from other people's work.
So yes that's a problem for the company. Ultimately this model of "investment" can kill a business that is technically succeeding because the speculators don't see a high enough return. That's also a problem for society as it creates instability and prevents technologically successful companies from prospering long term.
At least that's one narrative that appears to fit well with my observations.
If you actually care about building a sustainable business, not Unicorns and moonshots and other things investors want you to become and do, don't take investment, or at least not much.
How is that money "free"?
Similar mechanics apply to having a large valuation, no?
Sync storage is very important when you have a media center PC and a bunch of PCs you own and needs the files around. Not just in the cloud (that's for on-the-go and DR), but I would want a local copy too (using a NAS server). So if Dropbox offers local backup + cloud backup at a reasonable monthly / annual price, I would give that a try.
Folks often end up with a tonne of excess space either on a paid Dropbox account, or Google Suite via their university or company. You can also get unlimited space on ACD for $60/a (some people on /r/datahoarder claim to have uploaded over a petabyte), and Glacier is quite affordable on a per GB basis. It's pretty easy to get reliable versioned encrypted cloud backups on different providers that run overnight without requiring a lot of attention from an end user.
The biggest gap I have left is that most of my photos are on iCloud and if you don't have space on your Mac to store local copies to back up to somewhere else, it's easy to end up with only one copy of vital data.
Syncthing with a node on the NAS, and then use Duply to backup to the cloud. There's clients for everything, and you can keep history too.
Might be worth looking into Duplicati . You choose the backend, and it does the other things you mention ("Backup files and folders with strong AES-256 encryption. Save space with incremental backups and data deduplication. Run backups on any machine through the web-based interface or via command line interface. Duplicati has a built-in scheduler and auto-updater.")
Neither the pricing page nor the plan comparison page state this minimum. You have to click into the business section to actually see that.
I've never really understood how companies can offer "unlimited" storage at low prices.
They can do this because these enterprise-facing products offer fewer performance guarantees relative to their developer-facing products. But, ultimately, "unlimited" doesn't mean unlimited, in literally all of these products.
Neither the pricing page nor the plan comparison page make this clear. You have to click into the business section to actually see that. Super annoying.
For the record, I don't exploit this loophole and only tested to satisfy my curiosity. At $60/yr. it's already very cheap for unlimited -- it's my tertiary backup so I'll accept the risk that "unlimited" is qualified -- generic file storage.
You cannot compare these two services. One is a service, one is an ad machine.
As an anecdote, my girlfriend already cancelled her Dropbox account because iCloud provides what she needs at a much cheaper cost.
Personally, I require Unix support and also use a large portion of the terabyte of space, but I'd bet that the majority of users don't.
I worked on SkyDrive/OneDrive for a few years. That's what we thought too. This stuff inevitably starts out with "seriously, how long is it going to take to make essentially a wrapper around rsync" and ends up with "Hey, guess what happens when you cross filesystem errors with distributed systems errors when dealing with unmergeable files?"
This is a deceptively challenging space, particularly if you want to do sharing and group work in a reasonably intuitive way. Which is why Dropbox has managed to remain a company instead of simply being eaten up the first quarter that appl/ms/google decided to get into this business. Note that all three have an offering, and at this point I know that OneDrive is actually pretty good, but for years it was kind of an uphill catchup struggle.
rclone is a large contributing factor, however. And on Windows, OneDrive feels like less of a system hog.
E.g. the quite feasible scenario with two computers, both partially synced, and both getting files changed/added/removed/moved while the sync is happening. Consider applications creating temporary files while a document is being edited, and expecting to be able to create those files... and then it results in some app being unable to open the same document because it's "already open" on another machine. There are all kinds of interesting conflicts and race conditions possible, and you need to resolve them all in some way that doesn't weird out the users.
Apple iCloud Drive: Unusable out of MacOS.
Amazon: Unclear storage limits with potentially catastrophic consequences for going over them. No free tier. No Linux client.
Microsoft OneDrive: Individual file size limits. No Linux client.
Google Drive: Stories of unreliable syncing behavior, app instability, and so forth. No Linux client. Google history of killing non-core products.
Not only did Dropbox get there first, they did it mostly right, to the point where their competitors can be described as also-rans.
The other thing is that Dropbox has "good file sync service" as their entire mission, while every other provider of note has it as some value-add into their other services, meaning it's subject to the whims of what those companies are doing on a particular day.
I could easily go all in on iCloud Drive if I could make arbitrary files available to other users.
The reason Dropbox is kicking ass is that nobody wants to deal with the manual work. Download a program, put stuff in folder, stuff appears elsewhere. No thought required. Simple.
It was simple and thoughtless, for sure; and that reflected in its decrepit behaviour.
Anyway, I run it at nice 5 and "ionice -c3", and even though I'd like to switch to something else, I still haven't found anything better for Linux use. Everything I've looked at has some issue that makes it a non-starter.
No thought required. Simple.
OverGrive is great. Not official, but it handles and looks just as well as the macOS client.
Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon already do have comparable products, with comparable prices.
This kind of thinking is exactly why Apple/Microsoft/Google/Amazon will never deliver something better.
Yes - they can deliver something better for free but they think "it shouldn't take a lot of effort" so whatever they deliver is not adequate.
They also do not have no business reason to do it since valuable engineers and time can be better spent on other business sectors. For example, Amazon Cloud Drive is just a checkbox (look you can save you photos and videos also on our storage) from point of view Amazon management. Google Drive is the same. Microsoft has the same thinking: look here is OneDrive - but we really want you to buy Sharepoint.
So do not expect anything of Dropbox quality from these companies.
OneDrive is perhaps not quite as polished and its Linux support is lacking/unofficial/nonexistent depending on your viewpoint, but Microsoft's push to Office365 means that if you subscribe to it you're getting at least as much storage as Dropbox offers at a monthly cost that's ~70% of Dropbox for a single user, or 5x that (5 * 1TB/user) at the same annual price as Dropbox. On top of that, you get the assorted Office apps.
One notable weakness of the non-Business version of OneDrive is the lack of version history, so if that's important or you have no other forms of backup then that could be a deciding factor.
I'll leave out of it the question of whose servers data resides on and passes through.
Even the big service providers, like Dropbox and Microsoft have run into issues of scale that result in price increases or reduced storage quotas, later in the product cycle, forced onto existing customers. Typically a result of poor early planning or lack of insight into actual resources required per user.
Or bait and switch to grow fast quickly.
Dropbox, recently (quietly) raised prices on their Business plan, forcing existing Business customers to choose between a fixed storage space quota or a price increase. The decision will be forced on users on renewal in 2018, which is why we haven't heard much about this yet.
Microsoft had to do similar a year ago. Forcing all users off their unlimited plan, and reducing storage quotas for free users. It was painful.
At the same time you've got a race to the bottom from big companies targeting the consumer market. These providers most likely have no hope of generating revenue directly from the cloud storage itself, and instead use cloud storage as a loss leader for other channels and products.
For example, Google integrating free "unlimited" photo storage into their products, Apple iCloud integration and significant price cuts. If these loss leading experiments fail there will be another round of forced price increases or reduced storage quotas. Only time will tell.
So far it's a good bet against "Unlimited" free services:
Near-Unlimited Cloud Storage Service Copy.com Is Shutting Down:
Bitcasa kills infinite cloud storage plans, increases pricing as much as 10x
Then you've got Amazon cloud drive, offering unlimited Storage, but only for non-commercial personal use, with all sorts of restrictions. Sole practitioners and small businesses not welcome.
Using Your Files with the Services. You may use the Services only to store, retrieve, manage, organize, and access Your Files for personal, non-commercial purposes using the features and functionality we make available. You may not use the Services to store, transfer, or distribute content of or on behalf of third parties, to operate your own file storage application or service, to operate a photography business or other commercial service ...
And this open-ended goodie:
The Services are offered in the United States. We may restrict access from other locations. There may be limits on the types of content you can store and share using the Services, such as file types we do not support, and on the number or type of devices you can use to access the Services. We may impose other restrictions on use of the Services.
And finally most consumer grade cloud providers offer little protection in terms of encryption. Google, Amazon and Microsoft might get big brother on your data. You might even have real people looking at your files for whatever reason.
Our Use of Your Files. We may use, access, and retain Your Files in order to provide the Services to you, enforce the terms of the Agreement, and improve our services, and you give us all permissions we need to do so. These permissions include, for example, the rights to copy Your Files, modify Your Files to enable access in different formats, use information about Your Files to organize them on your behalf, and access Your Files to provide technical support
Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.
Big brother with good intentions:
Microsoft Anti-Porn Workers Sue Over PTSD - ex-employees of the company’s online safety team say they had to watch horrific online videos of child abuse, bestiality, and murders—and that Microsoft ignored their PTSD.
Finally, as a few others in this thread have stated, the underlying technology behind syncing and sharing is quite complicated. Cross-platform compatibility and maintaining backwards compatibility with older operating systems is mind boggling difficult.
In this regard in might be better to choose a cloud provider that offers end-to-end encryption, and has been in business for more than a few years (to ensure they've got the business model worked out).
Here's a few that come to mind:
* you must not even try to ... sell the Services unless specifically authorized to do so; publish or share materials that are unlawfully pornographic or indecent, or that contain extreme acts of violence;
advocate bigotry or hatred against any person or group of people based on their ... *
we store, process, and transmit Your Stuff—like files, messages, comments, and photos
And before you say "open source is only for geeks to install" consider this: Firefox is open source, and it was beating IE.
So my question is, what's really so hard about making an open source app that will sync to ARBITRARY servers AND encrypt everything, and those servers all run nextCloud?
When you reach a scale of millions of users, all these tiny details start to affect a sizeable amount of users.
As someone who built an OSS synced storage server, scratching my own itch was pretty easy but responding to bug reports that are far outside of my use cases can get tedious. And somehow it feels like there are just so many, compared to other areas.
Edit: git-annex supports encryption and webdav remotes (and thus, ownCloud/Nextcloud/others) and it works pretty well.
but... .they're filing for an IPO.. so their shareholders are going to start hitting them with the "If you don't always make more money than last time we'll fire you and find someone who will."
If you don't want to expand your business far beyond what it's already doing then you don't IPO and take on shareholders.
Dropbox expects you to pseudo-merge exactly one personal account with exactly one business account. You end up with a mess. It gets even worse when trying to unmerge them. And is not useful should you have more accounts than exactly one of each. That mess will keep coming back to bite you almost every month as Dropbox doesn't do what you'd expect.
Dropbox is lucky that that they do two things their competitors don't: they support Linux and syncing generally works.
I think for Dropbox to operate in a pure filesystem-native-first experience they're probably approaching it from the 1 computer = 1 person standpoint (or one logged in user on the computer at least).
I was around when they introduced the "multi account" support, and it was very easy to see how/why they did it. Instead of updating their clients to support multiple accounts (which they should have done), the client just keeps supporting only one account. Then on their back end they return "merged" content to the client. You can easily see how this can create chaos, because other people can also be updating your personal and business content, and untangling it all is a mess.
This may or may not be acceptable to you, but for a lot of people it isn't.
1. Former Google Apps for Work.
On the flip side, it works really, really well cross-platform. Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android, iOS - you name it, they have it. And it's 100% hassle-free.
Companies need to stop trying to take over the world, and focus on product/service mastery
Your customers aren't just your customers, but also your financial backers at that point.
Getting both of them what they want is a constant challenge, full of compromises.
There were rumors they were going to launch an email service, then a basecamp competitor, then it was a race against iCloud and Google drive...
Honestly after cancelling my account I've never looked back. I get more storage per dollar with google and iCloud and the Dropbox macOS integration is a joke.
With all the acquisitions Dropbox has made in the past decade, they couldn't have created a more useful macOS app? Read a blog post by any former dropbox employee and you'll hear the same thing over and over:
Dropbox is littered with management problems and their leadership has no idea what the future of the company and will look like because cloud storage is a race to zero.
That's a much nicer phrase than the one I used to use: "complicit in your own destruction". One is too bland, the other too strong. Certainly there's got to be one in the middle.
The other business units and moonshot projects are just rounding errors on their balance sheets.
Paper > Word Processing > Email Attachment > Collaborative (Google Docs) > Cloud Storage > Meta Information
The last part, Meta Information, is the ‘conversation about the document’ and represents the evolution from a physical piece of paper that I hold in my hand to having a conversation around a document that I might only view as a file name in a folder and never open it up (or just click on the preview).
Box notes is a good first phase of this evolution, however Conversational UIs will lead that next evolutionary phase. Dropbox needs to support the communication pathways that are formed around the documents that people are storing.
If you disagree about the evolution, I'd love to discuss and learn more from your POV. Much like documents, I'm looking to evolve into meta conversations.
"[Dropbox] is not a product, it's a feature."
TL;DR: The only actual news here is the new line of credit. The folks involved in securing that line of credit only noted that it was secured since the previous line of credit had expired.
There's no real tie to any IPO news here, and the quotes about an IPO come from "potential advisers" and seem to be entirely unrelated to the line of credit news.
> While the company hasn't set specific timing, potential advisers believe it will be ready to go public by the end of this year. Dropbox and its lenders declined to comment.
"For the banks involved, taking on the risk of lending to an unprofitable private company can help them win a role underwriting an eventual IPO."
It's fascinating to watch how we're building the stack of cards this time.
The bankers on SNAP made $85,000,000 in fees on the IPO - which is very high margin activity.
The same bankers provided ~$1.2b in credit to SNAP as part of the courting process (1).
I'm not going to wave the doom and gloom flag, but credit lending on unprofitable companies to secure speculative IPO rights is probably something that will show up in HBR case studies after the next downturn.
It's so easy to explain how it works to my non-techie parents ("It's just another folder on your computer, except it backs up your data automatically").
I hope Dropbox continues to thrive.
I don't know how to reconcile the negativity toward Dropbox with how what Dropbox did was very very technical and hacker-ish. Basically they spent 5 years just tracking down obscure operating system bugs and making their app work seamlessly across all platforms. I mean they really did the hard slog. A kind of slog I thought technical people here would respect.
If I really look into it I'd have to say the negativity here toward Dropbox stems from people thinking, "But I could do that! But I do that already!" And sort of having this bitterness that something so "their-territory" was done successfully by someone else. But I think, "don't they realize the hard slog Dropbox did to actually make that work everywhere?" I think in the case of Dropbox, it was that obsession with the details, that is a driving force of their culture and business. If people fail to appreciate that, and are negative based on the impression they get with that obsession omitted, they're not seeing Dropbox clearly, in my opinion.
I love it though, and I use Cryptomater  to sync my docs folder across machines without having it be on Dropbox's servers in the clear.
But, at least on Windows, only being able to sync 1 folder is a serious limitation.
Again at least on Windows, CPU and disk utilisation goes through the roofnon start-up, rendering your machine all but useless for half an hour.
And the final nail in my Dropbox coffin - it seemed to quite often choose the wrong file when there were conflicts, and at times it mistakenly deleted a lot if files. I just couldn't trust it.
Oh, and support via their forums was rubbish. Dozens of people would report the same problems, and they'd be ignored for years.
Every other sync service I've tried has major bugs, from Google Drive URL-encoding the filenames in an entire directory tree and deleting the original to Bittorrent Sync silently corrupting large files...
Smart Sync is their game changer.
Plus, the fiasco they had with their Mac app comforted me in not trusting them
"Dropbox is the fastest SaaS company to reach $1 billion in revenue run rate" - given that, I don't care if they are profitable or not. They got to $1B faster than Salesforce, as long as they keep this up they'll be just fine.
Genuinely asking, I pay 7 € / mo for OneDrive (1 TB) and I get a desktop license of Office along with that too.
Plus google apps offers more space than dropboxes business plan.
I've really gotten into photography. Shooting in raw means I easily add 10-30 GB of data a week. Just want a cheaper option for more than 1 TB.
This does not matter for everybody but if you for example work on multiple computers with same files this can be quite handy.
That being said, it would be interesting to see what marketshare the various players have. I bet Dropbox is 50% or less.
But if you can do it, someone else can do it, and if they are criminally inclined, sly, lucky, or are prepared to pay people less or provide a lower quality product, or they have money to burn or are backed by people with money to burn then they can take you on and, until they are caught/run out of money/lose business due to their business practices catching up with them, they can take your business. Companies which are set up with other people's money and/or which go public are going to have to answer to the people who "own" them about why they're not making more money this year than last year and the people notionally running the company will be out of a job if they can't explain this.
I think you'd have to look at self-funded companies to find one that is "ok" with stagnant growth.
so the growth rate of a company is one of the biggest factors in its valuation, and higher valuation means more wealth generated for investors, including employee-shareholders.
in DCF (discounted cash flows, a fundamental valuation method), revenue growth rate is typically an estimated input, and the model is highly sensitive to it. the outputs of the model are the present value of future free cash flows, otherwise known as the valuation of the company.
(see the growth rate in the DCF sensitivity chart on this example of DCF analysis on wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discounted_cash_flow#/media/Fi... )
higher growth rate => higher valuation, all other things being equal. investors are looking for the largest delta between initial valuation and final valuation they can get, and growth is one of the most reliable ways to achieve that.
companies that don't grow can generate nice returns for the current owners, but they don't generate outsized returns over time because as growth rate goes to zero, valuation becomes a constant, i.e., no delta in initial vs final valuation (all other things being equal).
A company has to keep growing because of unique demands on that company. A different company doesn't have to grow because it has a different set of demands.
Most you read about on here have a relatively similar set of demands based on the VC investments they took.
1) traffic to the rest of the internet from the cloud is "wtf" expensive compared to the alternatives. If you can do your own peering (like dropbox does), this goes double.
2) Actual disk storage is too expensive as well. It doesn't compare favorably with what you can get by building a blackblaze pod  (just an example).
3) Cloud does not match their usecase. They are write-heavy instead of read-heavy. So as the cloud optimizes for internet serving, it actually moves further away from their optimal price point.
There's an episode of software engineering radio that has a lot of details from the horse's mouth:
IMHO they should have spent money in investing in other productivity companies in order to diversify and be able to offer a complete productivity suite.
It's easy (trivial) for a technically proficient person to setup any trivial cloud storage system they like on just about any provider's platform they like.
It's not so easy for anybody else (read: the vast majority of other users). Dropbox's value proposition isn't commodity storage on somebody else's servers: it's the UI/UX that backs it, and the particular implementation details.
Apple, Microsoft and Goole all offer 'cloud' storage services (they aren't a product, stop calling it that) and all have a user-facing platform on devices: macOS/iOS, the various Windows, Android/ChromeOS.
Dropbox is effectively a feature. That isn't to say they can't remain in the market and possibly even become profitable, but just making a sync client whose biggest recent news is the skeezy install process on macOS isn't going to cut it.
Over several years, my experience of trying to use Google Drive or OneDrive on the Mac has been very frustrating, with significantly more CPU and RAM usage. It's ridiculous that OneDrive still doesn't do differential sync. AFAIK, neither has official clients for Linux.
A product is something you buy once. A service is something that is provided to you over time to use, usually in exchange for money. My issue was people calling cloud based storage a 'product'. It isn't, it's a service.
You seem to be somehow ignoring the little glass-faced elephant in the room: iPhones/iPads. The number of people who use these devices is not tiny.
The people who don't care about Apple but are still potential Dropbox customers are still using an OS: either Windows, Android or ChromeOS. The manufacturers of those OS' also compete with Dropbox. So what's your point about Apple exactly?
Non-technical users are exactly my point. Why would grandma use Dropbox, when its almost certain the device has built-in cloud-syncing storage from the OS manufacturer?
The problem with box.com is that there's no business support at all (nobody answers any emails). And in that regard Dropbox has been doing a really good job and put some effort into it. The product itself is not superior to box.com, quite in contrary actually, but the support is much better. (it's also quite easy since with box.com it's non-existent).
A bit melodramatic but the cloud is very new and untested against natural events such as a coronal mass ejection, which could wipe put huge amounts of stored data...the sort of thing that arguably should be in IPO risk lists but isn't...yet...
My computer's are garbage that's why 1GB to Dropbox is a lot to me.
Edit: I'm curious how OneDrive compares. I have Windows on a junk laptop I have but I don't use it to work on (too weak). Maybe it has better idle RAM use.
Does Dropbox memory usage grow with storage? Asking because I am only using 5GB of storage.
I can understand the value of Dropbox. Stuff like Snapchat being worth billions just make me feel like I don't know how anything works anymore.
Snapchat is a network and therefore is open to network effects, i.e. the sum becomes greater than the parts.
I think in ten years time Snapchat will look the more justified valuation, providing they execute.
Dropbox are going to struggle unless they can innovate ontop of the current business model.
They execute what, exactly? I looked at their investors page. Doesn't make any sense. It's a sexting app!!!
Do you think the complexity of Amazon and Dropbox are even in the same universe?
Disclaimer: I like both companies.
We'll see when Dropbox files whether or not they are executing the same strategy. My guess is they are, since it's hard for me to believe you can't attain profitability on $1B in revenue for a file-syncing platform.
Drop employees and they are insta profitable, but innovation slows.
Drop the free plan, and they lose the cheap marketing they have going on.
What is the right play for them? Seems tough.
Is it cheap though when combined with wages it's more than they make?
Consider that Amazon is also mostly not profitable but has staggering amounts of positive free cash flow.
Do you know that for a fact?
But I have not personally inspected their financial statements and conducted an audit to confirm this with my own two eyes, if that's what you're asking.
This is the sword of Damocles for Dropbox.