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Dropbox to cut 11% of its global workforce (cnbc.com)
477 points by champagnepapi 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 664 comments

Dropbox and Evernote, for me are two very similar companies. Startups that innovated on a great user experience and had a flawless execution in the beginning. I was an early adopter of both of them, and they worked well. Dropbox sync between different machines worked like magic. I still remember some of the nightmares my coworkers had with OneDrive in meetings when the files for the presentations were missing because of the poor sync capabilities of OneDrive. Dropbox is no failure. Their projected revenue for 2020 is $1.8B. This is 3x more than Slack, but their market cap is 3x smaller. Both Slack and Evernote are facing the most powerful companies in the world offering their products for free or at really discounted rates. What makes their situation even worse is that they don't own the content (documents, pdfs, spreadsheets). The documents will be edited somewhere else and then shared in dropbox. On top of that many other applications like chat offer file transfer and sharing.

Bottom line: I don't want them to fail ( I don't want Evernote to fail too), because it points to a world where only 5 to 10 big tech companies can survive. We need smaller innovative businesses to succeed too. It will be a sad day when a $2B business can't survive and is forced to sell.

There are lots of smaller tech businesses that could make a good living for a few hundred folks, but are extremely vulnerable to FAANG companies putting out a half-baked competitor. Strategically, from the FAANG perspective, it makes sense to spend a little money (for them) dipping a toe into every pond "just in case." On the flip side, it makes bootstrapping a sustainable business extremely difficult. If Google gives away a shitty form of your service for free because the costs are a rounding error to them, people will feel like the service has no value.

I don't know that I have seen a solution I like for this. Perhaps a new anti-monopoly law that prevents orgs from entering into competition without any potential for profit? At the end of the day, maybe the world as a whole doesn't care that they are missing out on small cool tech companies that will never get huge? But, of course, in an environment where small cool tech is unsustainable we'll never know if they would eventually get huge.

There's a very easy precedent for this. Just widen anti-trust.

Back when we actually imagined that government could stand up to powerful companies, we dealt with the Railroads with the tools of anti-trust. The situation was almost comically similar:

+ New, hyped technology;

+ Which received huge capital investment from newly printed money;

+ And which lent itself to a natural monopoly;

+ Which crushed competitors;

+ By offering to buy them for high prices;

+ Or by severely undercutting competitors

We already did this, we already solved this problem. Issue is that it happened before any of us were born. So I guess we have to go through the pain of learning this lesson all over again. It should be plainly obvious that we haven't even really started, as evidenced by the plaintive "bUt WhAt Do wE DO aBoUT tEcH!?" cry that comes out every time these companies flex their muscle.

There’s nothing wrong with buying competitors or offering lower prices by themselves. That’s fine. The problem with railroads is they impose a heavy cost on society by occupying a lot of territory. Railroads are noisy, polluting, obstruct highways and other transport and infrastructure. Every town wants a railway, but no town wants two competing mutually redundant railways providing the same service with two sets of track and stations.

Many other utilities tend to natural monopolies in similar ways such as telephone service, especially to rural areas, but railways are an extreme case.

Online some network effects can create natural monopolies because users get benefits from being on the same platform as all the other users. It’s a very different dynamic though and different platforms can cater to different communities and use cases with complementary value. Twitter and Facebook for eg. They don’t impose a cost on the public in the way railways do either.

> Twitter and Facebook for eg. They don’t impose a cost on the public in the way railways do either.

That's an interesting take after the last couple years...

I understand what you mean, but I have a natural aversion to blaming the messenger. We're all personally responsible for what we say and do.

In an age of hyper-sophisticated algorithms for which our puny mammal brains are no match, I think that's less and less true.

> but I have a natural aversion to blaming the messenger.

The messengers in question decide which messages you see and tailor their deliveries to the one which will increase your outrage because that’s what keeps you asking for more. All so they can keep slipping in a few more adverts others pay for.

These messengers aren’t neutral, thus not exempt from blame.

No. Offering Lower prices than is economically sustainable and viable is predatory and anticompetitive. In international trade it is called “dumping” and is illegal. Just because companies are getting away with it doesn’t mean it’s ok.

I don't know, I found the argument about competing railways in one town compelling. What if I as a consumer like the "dumping"? What if most of us do?

I'm not actually making that argument, I was thinking in terms of economies of scale or just that some features or services are so cheap and incidental for a huge player that they end up squashing minors almost by accident. In those cases you can make a case they are doing harm, but being alive causes harm (environmental for example). You've got to draw the line somewhere.

Dumping is tricky. I am actually sympathetic to the argument that says let them dump away. If China is subsidising cheap solar panels and manipulating their currency to make them even cheaper again, fine. Let's gorge ourselves on cheap solar panels. That's fine in theory, but the reality is more complex. What about long term investment in technology development? Control of strategic technologies? These apply to tech services too. I use Google Doc heavily, but I do worry that they are pricing out potentially innovative competition.

> What if I as a consumer like the "dumping"?

What if as consumer you benefit for a little while until all competition is dead - and then prices increase beyond prior levels? Will you still like “dumping” then?

I think the dump and pump argument is more theoretical than real in a case like this. Pump and dump only works on short time horizons.

A bigger worry for me is stagnation. Suppose Google Docs gets 'good enough' and prices out all the competition, but then Google loses interest because it's not exciting anymore.

This happened with Internet Explorer. We lost years of advancement in browser technology because they dominated, wiped out the competition but then lost interest. Yes competitors came along again after a few years, but there was a significant opportunity cost to all of us.

People are totally willing for cheaply made furniture, appliances, etc.

While the means may be different the goals are the same:

"The objective of dumping is to increase market share in a foreign market by driving out competition and thereby create a monopoly situation where the exporter will be able to unilaterally dictate price and quality of the product".

The word “dumping” in this context is a well defined term, not a colloquial English word.

Making cheap products from cheap materials (at a presumed profit) isn’t the same as loss-making pricing schemes even if the high level motivation to beat competitors is the same.

The marginal cost of storage is quite small. “Dumping” and “predatory pricing” arguments make more sense for physical goods — competitors like OneDrive or Google Drive could easily make the case that Dropbox is a premium storage service that does not reflect the true cost of storage.

Issue is that [anti-trust actions against railroads] happened before any of us were born.

Is it that, or is it because we're all so dependent on the market (for retirements funds, etc), that we're afraid to rock the boat? That would tend to indicate that anti-trust action needs to start well before the point where we're all too invested in AAPL/MSFT/GOOGL to want change.

It is very hard for DropBox to compete against the free file storage offerings like Google Drive.

iCloud and OneDrive are integrated into the operating system now too, too.

The problem is that maybe Steve Jobs was right after all and Dropbox is a feature not a product. Dropbox file syncing is best in class but for the vast majority of users that is probably not the most important thing for them. Most people won't run into the hard edge cases that Dropbox has solved better than the others. And something like Google Drive derives it's value from he fact that is deeply integrated into GSuite

Maybe. I think the people who are most benefiting from Dropbox (creatives, etc) are heavily impacted by COVID recession.

There is no business case for running Dropbox in a large enterprise (I tried... our creatives cried about it), and it's an increasingly difficult case to make for a home user, as all of the alternatives are pretty good.

The other thing is that Dropbox is an easy app to fall out of love with as an individual.

They constantly upsell, even after you bought the product. I was paying >$100 year for Dropbox for years and they pushed Dropbox Teams at me relentlessly for most if it. Problem: I don't have a team! They also didn't pool storage (I think they do now), so sharing stuff with my wife like video would consume 2x the storage, unless I paid 5x for the business product. Google Drive or Office 365 are a way better value in any dimension.

Basically they have a solid core product, but instead of doing something productive with it, the surrounded it with layers of bullshit. While meandering around, they eliminated the portion of the product focused on the #1 generator of storage needs (ie. photo/video), segmented basic features like PDF search, etc. All at a 20-70% premium over competitive offers.

Good riddance.

They also lost my trust when they sold our small team on a particular plan and then pulled all the valuable features out of that plan and raised prices 50% (or 100% if we wanted most of the features back). The messaging around that was also just cold marketing BS talking about how great these changes were. It all happened within first year of our subscription.

Luckily OneDrive was finally getting stable so we migrated over and I haven't touched dropbox since.

It quickly became clear they were focusing on enterprise customers and the SMB pricing we had undermined that effort.

> and it's an increasingly difficult case to make for a home user, as all of the alternatives are pretty good.

I think this is the first thing that came to mind when I saw this article.

I very recently signed up for Apple One, for Music/TV/iCloud (family photos in particular)/all the rest and the fact that I now use iCloud sync instead of Dropbox bothers me nil. Prime also comes with Photos, unlimited photo backup. Used to use that just fine. Google Photos is like $1/mo.

Honestly, if Disney bundled a cloud storage service into Disney+ I'd probably give it a shot. File syncing is a commoditized feature these days for the average Joe.

If you just want something to share files with your wife, I created an open source project that does exactly that: https://github.com/chrishulbert/flare/

Of course it's not as easy to set up as Dropbox, I originally had grand dreams of somehow turning this into a startup back when there were a lot of people upset that Dropbox was using an invasive kernel driver (IIRC), but I never found the time.

> and it's an increasingly difficult case to make for a home user, as all of the alternatives are pretty good.

Yeah, this. I've found myself drifting over to OneDrive for personal use; it's pretty good at least on macOS, and Dropbox is just one-more-thing running all of the time.

But also, almost every time I log into their service I get popups bugging me to upgrade, it happened just now. I pay ~ $100/yr at the moment and I guess I've been too lazy to eliminate that expense by moving everything to one provider. Today might be the day to change that.

> Office 365 are a way better value in any dimension.

Office 365 is crazy good value in comparison - although I will say my users still complain about onedrive and say Dropbox sync was more rock solid.

> Dropbox is a feature not a product.

I don't think so. It's a product which enables a lot of useful features on a variety of devices, including Linux desktops.

No competitors of Dropbox enables the same functionality under Linux. This is why I use, and will continue to use it. Yes, iCloud just works and Google Drive works well enough, but none of them works on Linux. Nextcloud doesn't create too many problems but needs your own infra to run.

Dropbox allows me to do a lot of things and they're currently irreplaceable for me. That's not because I can't replace them (would take half a day at most) but, their service worth the money they want.

It’s obviously hard to know exactly what Jobs meant, and sadly he is not here to be able to ask him, but here is my best guess as to what he meant:

In the early days of computing people would sell task managers, file managers, memory optimisers, software to burn data to a CD etc. As time went on, these ‘products’ just became features of the operating system. While it used to make sense for people to own a copy of Nero Disk Burner, over time this became expected functionality of the operating system. Consumers demands for base software change over time - Task managers used to be a product you bought for your OS, now they are just a feature of your OS.

So what do Dropbox offer, I would say it is “seamless file syncing”, which meets a broader consumer goal of “my changes are synchronised across my team and devices”. I think the issue is that as time goes on, this is becoming a standard consumer expectation of applications.

Applications like Google Docs and Figma have actually decided that it’s better if they handle the sync rather than Dropbox. Just like windows was better at task management, they are better at synchronising their own files. It means they can even offer things like collaborative editing!

Secondly, as time moves on, the base expectation for an OS might move to ‘all my files are synchronised’ - and if that’s the case, what is the role for Dropbox in a world where customers just expect that as standard? We used to have file managers as their own purchased products and then they became standard OS features. Why should a cloud file manager or sync service be fundamentally different in a cloud-first world? Online sync might be the new windows file explorer. Take iCloud for example - that’s just a feature fully baked into OSX.

So what does this mean for Dropbox? Well what it offers over time might just become what people expect other software or their operating system to do for them - And I think this is what Jobs was predicting. Why do I have to get something else to sync the files on my computer, surely this is an operating system responsibility?

So then the Dropbox space becomes - “cross operating system syncing of files that don’t have a native cloud sync process”. People still buy Nero Disk Burner... it’s just their market isn’t what it used to be.

There is a lot of useful things you can do with file storage. You can build plenty of products that synergize with Dropbox. Dropbox is failing to execute on these ideas. I was using Dropbox Carousel, now I use Google Photo. I wanted to use Dropbox Mailbox, but it was killed shortly after. Dropbox mobile app so bad that I needed to buy dedicated app to listen my music on Smartphone. They introduced computer backup in 2020! You still can sync only one folder!

They chase after an enterprise consumer but this would put them into direct competition with Microsoft, a fight that they cannot win.

I don’t think they can chase the consumer market either though - it’s too competitive.

Both iPhone and Android have support for cloud sync baked into their operating system as a core feature for their own service.

The issue with things like Carousel or Google Photos is that the sync is actually a fairly small part of the engineering effort - the hard part is making an amazing photo viewing and editing app which with mobile devices includes the end to end user flow from your mobile phone camera! Google photos and iPhoto make a little more sense as products when you consider that these are really about viewing the photos you took on your Apple/google device and providing native sync from their camera app. I’m not sure what Dropbox’s long term competitive advantage could be in the space from a corporate strategy perspective.

Dropbox had direct sync with camera app it worked better than Google photo sync. Over years, you accumulate multiple GB of just photos. I got my Google One subscription because of that. Once people star buying storage from google/apple there would be no point to buy any of Dropbox offering. I am only paying for Dropbox because there is no good Linux alternative.

> Dropbox had direct sync with camera app it worked better than Google photo sync.

Still has. It's called "Camera Upload" now.

> Once people star buying storage from google/apple there would be no point to buy any of Dropbox offering.

I think secure erase, transfers, file requests, "Apps" and OS independence is worthy of the price they ask for. Also on-demand sync on other OSes and other small features increase their value in my eyes a lot.

Still, cross-operating sync of files has become far more important than when Dropbox was launched, with many more people juggling multiple operating systems (OSs which are often adversarial with one another).

It’s become more important, and I think will now become less important as the concept of a file changes.

A google docs file isn’t a file in the traditional sense, it just exists on the cloud and we can collaborate at the same time.

Similarly with Figma, that’s not really a file. It just exists and we can all edit it at the same time.

My todo list app used to sync with Dropbox, now it syncs for free without Dropbox.

Even Microsoft office documents on 365 sit in a weird space between ‘kind of a file and kind of not’ - the file is there, but when you are doing live collaborative editing that’s presumably not also updating the file on the disk in real time - there is some other sort of magic going on.

The important thing with the above examples is they can offer better sync because they don’t rely on Dropbox, rather than despite not using Dropbox.

If sync is an application feature, sync tends to be better than if sync isn’t an application feature and it’s left to Dropbox to do the sync.

"Dropbox is a feature not a product."

Where this does ring true is Dropbox versus not OneDrive on it's own, but OneDrive as it comes bundled with O365. Many F500 type companies pretty much MUST have O365.

Then, if you have O365, you have OneDrive. And the question then isn't whether Dropbox is better. It's whether OneDrive is "good enough" to suffice, despite it being not as good as Dropbox. And the decision maker doesn't care if it's not good enough for some smallish subset of employees that need a Linux client, etc. They care whether it's good enough for most.

> Many F500 type companies pretty much MUST have O365.

This is the problem. Putting Linux support aside, focusing too much on enterprise, while necesseary up to a point, kills both the product and personal productivity tools market.

Is wanting to decouple work and personal files completely while retaining independence on personal systems a cardinal sin?

IMHO, touting about benefits of a work/life balance is moot if I can't completely shut-off work stuff from my life while using my computer. Dropbox, Evernote and Trello allows me to do that. None of my work stuff is present in these mediums. Similarly none of my work stuff syncs to my personal computers directly. I use company laptop for that stuff.

Trello also went the same route. Trello Gold was a personal productivity powerhouse. Now it's unmaintained, intentionally crippled semi-premium version of Trello Business class.

Do I need to set-up a VPS, install {Next,Own}cloud to it and install all my tools as add-ons there to have a personal productivity space? In 2021? That shouldn't be necessary, that wasn't the promise.

Yet we are here. Every product is targeting the enterprise, where the freelancer or the personal productivity enthusiast is either confined to its corporate licenses or expensive (in terms of time) self-hosted solutions.

I think Slack is having the same problem with Microsoft Teams.

I thought HN established a long time ago that you could build such a system yourself quite trivially by getting an FTP account, mounting it locally with curlftpfs, and then using SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem.

I can just slap Owncloud or Nextcloud to a VPS and build a relatively secure system within three hours but, some problems will arise.

- Integration with 3rd party tools: Trello or services which provide "Dropbox Apps" support won't be able to sync to my space or directly retrieve from it. I'm sure there will be many other tools which can talk with Dropbox but not with my server.

- Collaboration: I bet that not so many people would install another client and remember a username, password, URL triplet to just work with me (e.g. academic research, side project, etc.). They'll either force me to use other tool or things will just break down (just experienced a similar thing at work).

- Maintenance: OS, service, add-on updates, licenses, security, monitoring, etc. will be additional time consuming obligations.

- Pricing: If I use a VPS, excessive network traffic or resource usage will result in a price hike.

- Price/Performance: You cannot beat the competition at the price/performance ratio. I will pay more, spend more time and get less. Why bother?

- Environmental: In my case, self-hosting at home is impossible. I neither have the bandwidth, nor the space required to store another system and keep it quiet at the same time. Additional power bill and heat is not welcome, either.

These are just the issues coming from top of my head, and can be expanded further.

If you like Nextcloud you can buy the service directly also. Then it works like Dropbox (but cheaper). For example Hetzner provides that [1].

[1] https://www.hetzner.com/storage/storage-share

Who needs google search either when you can just slap a ES instance to a web crawler you scripted in 5 minutes

I guess Drew never got the memo

It is not correct to say none of the dropbox competitors offer linux sync clients. We (https://www.getfilecloud.com) are a dropbox competitor and we offer clients for windows, mac and linux. We are also rank comparably well when it comes to customer rating in Gartner Peer Reviews (https://www.gartner.com/reviews/market/content-collaboration...).

It is most likely Dropbox faces higher churn in their primary customer demography (Creatives and Professionals). Their offering lack many admin controls it is not yet ideal for enterprises where the churn is low. Further, OneDrive and G-Suite offers much better value by bundling the productivity suite.

Linux is just 2% of the desktop market. Apple and Microsoft have good enough cloud storage + sync, so Dropbox needs to be even more compellling on macOS/windows to survive.

Their Dropbox Transfer offering is a nice alternate revenue stream for them. I wonder what else they can come up with.

> Linux is just 2% of the desktop market.

However, there are concentration points of this 2% which is beneficiary to both parties.

Dropbox can target this 2% better and users of this 2% can use Dropbox to collaborate and sync their other systems which have more popular OSes.

(And like 75% of the mobile market!)

The *ix userland is nowhere in the mobile market, and Dropbox is not a kernel extension. Google could replace Linux with another kernel tomorrow and it would be irrelevant to Android users; Dropbox-for-Android is irrelevant to Dropbox-for-Linux-Desktops.

I've entirely replaced my usage of Dropbox within the past two years with Syncthing. It works great if you're on Android. Doesn't have an iOS client though.

Nice thing about Syncthing is you can entirely configure what you are syncing and how. I literally press one button on my phone, it creates a backup, and that backup is sent to my server.

I would go as far to say that Android's killer app is Syncthing. Yes, I'm putting this on the same level as iMessage for iOS. It's that good. If I ever switch back to iPhone I will really miss it.

> Google Drive works well enough, but none of them works on Linux.

FYI, you might be satisfied by Insync.

> Dropbox is a feature not a product.

When you are against FAANG every product is just a feature.

Maybe only if you constantly update "FAANG" such that every tech company who actually succeeds in creating a competitive or impactful product just gets their letter added to "FAANG," and all the companies that fail to make a huge impact automatically get considered "only features." We already see that a lot. Some people wedge Microsoft into the acronym and/or leave out other letters. And Netflix's product on the face of it is certainly what we would consider a feature for most big software companies (and indeed many of them have a competing streaming service). If, for instance, Netflix significantly declines in popularity in the next few years, we might just drop it from "FAANG," and someone might still say "When you are against GAFAM every product is just a feature."

Mostly agree, but Netflix isn't a feature just because Google and FB also do streaming. It's fair to call Netflix a product because it's something that end users actually care about for its own sake. You can pay for Netflix and nothing else and still get value out of it.

Dropbox is just a "feature" in that you can't do anything with it on its own, you need to have some other data from somewhere else to use with it.

> Dropbox is just a "feature" in that you can't do anything with it on its own

That just describes a tool. A hammer is useless without a nail, but a hammer isn't a feature. The claw of the hammer is a feature.

I thought FAANG was originally shorthand for companies that could pay far above median via RSUs since their stock prices were expected to skyrocket, with little downside, so the RSUs were as good as cash. And why other companies couldn't offer comparable pay. And nowadays it still refers to companies whose publicly trade stock prices continue to grow so much that it makes the stock portion of the compensation very lucrative, which include Microsoft.

>And Netflix's product on the face of it is certainly what we would consider a feature for most big software companies

Netflix's product is the opposite of a feature. A feature is reproducible, which Netflix's media is not, and they are the only place to get it.

> I thought FAANG was originally shorthand for companies that could pay far above median

It's not really related to compensation even if those companies pay well. The short history is that FANG was coined by Jim Cramer (he has a TV show where he talks about stocks) around 7 or 8 years ago to mean Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google. He just thought those were good stocks to invest in at the time but the term caught on and started being used in different contexts, Apple was added as the second A to make FAANG and now it's roughly just a synonym for a big tech company depending on the context.

This also explains why Netflix is represented in the acronym but much bigger companies like Microsoft aren't.

> Netflix's product is the opposite of a feature. A feature is reproducible, which Netflix's media is not, and they are the only place to get it.

Apple, Google and Microsoft have shown they want to compete directly in streamed video market (and similarly the online music market.)

They might not have successfully competed against Netflix yet, but I have no reason to believe that one of them couldn’t come up with a better product with better platform integration, and Netflix becomes another Hulu in the middle runners.

The point is if Netflix creates media that people want to consume, they have to go to Netflix to get it (legally).

If Dropbox creates software that performs a task, it can be copied (to a sufficient degree) by Google/Microsoft/Apple/Amazon and people can get it there.

> Netflix's product is the opposite of a feature. A feature is reproducible, which Netflix's media is not, and they are the only place to get it.

I completely disagree. Netflix creates original content, but so do all (most?) of the other competing streaming platforms. And they all compete for licenses to third-party content. Heck, notable third-party content often makes headlines for moving from one streaming service to another when the contracts expire.

The way I used FAANG wasn't very precise. It is possible that Netflix will become a feature of Google, Amazon, or Disney.

I was referring to the concept of "bundling and unbundling" [1] which is beneficial to the big rich companies. The big players have the money and the control over the eco-system (files, documents, events) which gives them the advantage to go against smaller products and make them features.


GMAFIA is a much better term. I don't see Netflix leading the tech world. Amazon and Google do videos too (as do others, Disney, CBS, HBO ...) so it's not that hard.

Maybe Steve Jobs is right, but maybe it's also good for the world if you can build a sustainable business on a feature.

In the world of music, an effects pedal or guitar stomp box is more "feature" than "product". You can't write a song just using a chorus pedal. But there are many many thriving companies that do nothing but produce and sell pedals.

Much of this likely rests on the fact that the "protocols" that music gear use to talk to each other are simple, well-established, and legally unemcumbered. Also, for reasons that aren't clear to me, even dominant companies in the market do not seem to have pushed very hard to extuinguish that interoperability in anti-competitive ways. Or, at least, not yet.

I think the problem is:

a) it's too easy to build data syncing into other products

b) the ease of having syncing built into the product I'm using is really powerful

When Dropbox first came out a lot of software was a lot more "local", and Dropbox was a lot more useful. But now we have Google Docs and Office 365 for most documents, git/GitHub, etc. for source code, things like Figma are starting to crop up for designers.

For each of these, unless the syncing was especially bad, it's hard to imagine an out-of-band syncing solution differentiating itself in any meaningful way to make up for the more complex UX/setup.

Unless someone for some reason comes up with a product that's just amazing compared to its competition but has no syncing capabilities, or syncing becomes incredibly difficult to implement well, I don't see why people would use Dropbox.

I'm not a musician, but my guess is that musicians care enough about pedals or the differences between them to justify a separate market for them. Certain pedals are smoother, or offer more resistance, and that matters a lot to certain people? But I don't see an analog to that for data syncing.


If there were a market for data syncing itself, I feel like it would be product companies paying for it as a service, and not something that end-users want to pay for directly.

Another way to look at this is that maybe filesystems are too low-level of an abstraction for most end-users. I found that people would often be confused by the idea of a filesystem that existed separately from any application when I was trying to explain computers to them, and UX seems to be moving away from needing users to think about a filesystem.

> Unless someone for some reason comes up with a product that's just amazing compared to its competition but has no syncing capabilities, or syncing becomes incredibly difficult to implement well, I don't see why people would use Dropbox.

For me Dropbox has the following advantages:

* it works with _all_ my files and applications (not only those with sync built-in) * it's a separate product, that does one thing only, where I explicitly pay for that thing. It's not an after-thought or something whose business model is unclear or is against my privacy * for the same reason I am less worried that the company behind it will pull the plug because it's not the main focus

I much happier to pay more for a service/product with a clear focus made by a company that doesn't a gazillion other things. (Btw for similar reasons I think that Evernote is damaging itself with their strategy of chasing new features at all costs).

Isn't this just it? There's no doubt that there's value and that the software is excellent in both cases. I'm just not sure we should try to turn every software project into a moonshot and expect anything sustainable as a result. It's not sustainable in most industries.

That was and still is a terrible take. You don't get to an annual revenue of $2B and market cap of $10B with a "feature, not a product".

In recent years Apple itself has started purchasing a ton of cloud services, including Box, for its own employees.

You do if you have the only product that is doing the feature well.

But that doesn’t mean that file sharing isn’t like CDRW or Zip drives or small cameras.

After being a keen user for years I uninstalled Dropbox from my computer last week. It’s been replaced by iCloud, S3, google docs and other things that are easier for me to use in my workflow.

Hi, you’re mention of s3 piqued my interest, how are you using it?

Mainly for sharing files via http and distributing/testing html/webapps when needed. I used to use an app to mount s3 as a filesystem but tend to use command line to upload

Probably Jobs was right, though I sometimes think of a better world where cloud storage and web apps are decoupled. No need to bother with Google Takeout because the data is already yours. I know that diagrams.net (formerly draw.io) does this but it's the only (major) web app I can think of which does.

I think it's absolutely correct that, for Google, it doesn't make sense to charge for sync. I also think that anyone who's ever relied on sync knows that there is a lot of value in doing it well - especially in a B2B context. It's true that "just" filesystem sync isn't a full product. The product would probably be sync-as-a-service where you can manage distribution and deduplication of resources across your systems.

So we have a situation where it doesn't make sense for Google to focus on the feature, but the fact that they have the feature at all trips up specialist companies.

Funny thing is that these days at work we mostly use Dropbox for Dropbox Paper, much less for file sharing.

It's the best collaborative writing tool, and with the work from home situation, it's the best tool to replace never ending zoom meetings with asynchronous collaboration.

One of the features that I love about DropBox is that it's not Google. I use Google for a lot of things, but my backups of Google go into DropBox.

I think the theory of Dropbox is that something like Paper derives its value by being deeply integrated into Dropbox.

Or you can use synology for free if you own a NAS.

> Perhaps a new anti-monopoly law that prevents orgs from entering into competition without any potential for profit?

That's an interesting idea, but if you think about it, a lot of companies are in the same boat. How long did Uber go before making a profit? Amazon?

Heck, Microsoft spent eight billion dollars until Xbox started turning a profit for them. Xbox probably would have never existed if not for Microsoft taking a massive loss to make it happen.

Yah, it's definitely not "the one perfect idea to fix the problem." Tho, FWIW, I think that Uber and Amazon and the Xbox division were all working towards profitability the entire time. By contrast, I don't believe Google has ever said they intend to make Keep profitable. This wouldn't be the first time the regulators are given the responsibility of telling the difference between incompetence and bad luck v.s. anticompetitive malfeasance.

Why are we lumping in Netflix instead of Microsoft in the group of big tech?

Because the term was popularized by Jim Cramer on Mad Money referring to the growth of Facebook, Apple, Netflix & Google back in 2013.

$MSFT hadn't really taken off like the others until later that year.

> $MSFT hadn't really taken off

This statement seems so funny considering 20 years ago Microsoft were all the FAANGs

That makes sense. Netflix only belongs in that group when talking about "tech stocks".

'GAFAM' is a popular term in some places.


I haven't given any real thought to this, but maybe in terms of regulations, we should think of free software products as another kind of price dumping. It's essentially price dumping down to zero.

Dumping is different from bundling, but the boundary is fuzzy.

Dumping is an unsustainable business practice that cripples competitors before raising prices to sustainable levels.

Bundling isn't bad if its price is higher than cost and it's cheaper for customers than unbundling.

I've had similar thoughts but free software is so pervasive. Would this apply to stuff like Foxit Reader, 7zip, or Discord? It might be really hard to draw the line.

"There are lots of smaller tech businesses that could make a good living for a few hundred folks, but are extremely vulnerable to FAANG"

I would disagree strongly with that. FAANG is not interested and actually has trouble competing in sub $100m markets.

Indeed it's a tough for companies like Dropbox to compete against the Big Tech players. The proverbial you win some battles but lose the war.

On the other hand, Dropbox could've shifted more towards the enterprise customers and gained traction before the likes of Microsoft and Google ramped up their competing products. That'd have built them a better moat than being subject to the fickleness of mass consumers.

>Indeed it's a tough for companies like Dropbox to compete against the Big Tech players. The proverbial you win some battles but lose the war.

It seems like Dropbox could be generating 10s to low 100s of million in profit every year. They're spending a lot on R&D that they don't necessarily need to in order to chase growth. Even if GDrive/OneDrive et.al. eventually drive them out of business it would only be after Dropbox made 100s of million to billions.

What kind of moat could one possibly build against the Microsoft salesperson offering to throw in OneDrive for free, or at minimal cost?

I don’t see this. So you have examples? I think that smaller companies can compete on knowing their customers better - it’s hard for a highly paid 10 year at Google person to put themselves in the shoes of say a dental practitioner or even the shoes of a typical full stack dev wanting to use nextjs for example.

I suppose I was going off the examples in the post I was replying to. Comparing Google Drive sync to Dropbox and Google Keep to Evernote.

I'd bet Microsoft loses out in the long run due to having to dogfood OneDrive and Teams.

Just how vulnerable are those smaller businesses? I can't help but think of unsuccessful half baked FAANG products which failed to kill the competition. Do you have any specific examples in mind?

> I don't know that I have seen a solution I like for this

End the infinite growth model once and for all. The only solution to all these issues. The shift has to be cultural before legislative.

That regulation already exists, at least for international trade. The act of selling items at less than nominal cost is forbidden by anti dumping treaties. See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumping_(pricing_policy)

Users lose out as well when they end up with products like Microsoft Teams.

I dunno. I feel dropbox has been getting less and less usable as their UI tries to get further away from the very light wrapper around windows explorer(or whatever file explorer your OS of choice uses).

I really just wanted it to be a folder that exists on all my computers. That's it. Now when I ask it to open the dropbox folder it stays within it's own application window and attempts to recreate windows explorer, but without all the features of windows explorer and tons of gunk I don't want.

This seems to be a problem of both the "lets push our userbase into patterns that work for us rather than them" and "Hey I'm a UI designer so I have design me some UIs, and I'll never stop, even though the UI is correct, I'll keep changing it forever!"

Yeah, when I forget and accidentally click on the Dropbox icon when I want my Dropbox folder and get whatever abomination it is that comes up now instead of the folder, I get real ragey. It's such an anti-consumer thing when companies take a nice product and add a bunch of crap to it that no one wants.

I liked Dropbox Paper a lot, but then they took away the ability to bulk export notes. There is no good reason to do that. Only bad ones.

This and constant nagging that I'm running out of space (I'm definitely not), and (tightening?) limits on number of machines, had me migrate to Synology Drive this last week. Now I have basically unlimited space and devices.

I'm sorry to the hard working devs, I'm part of the problem I guess. But it's tough to pay for something with free alternatives that have fewer limitations and better features.

While I agree their UI is getting more flashy and unusable, that's not all of it. I used to pay for Dropbox Plus. I no longer do because they removed symlink support. Genuinely useful feature, although I imagine difficult to implement and maintain. They lost me as a customer because of this one feature.

Dropbox is only a "failure" if you require continuous growth. Let's pause for a moment and think: why do we require that? I know, markets, etc, but Dropbox could be a pretty good medium-sized business and be just fine.

Well, another way to look at it is that Dropbox is a failure because instead of doing one thing right and optimizing the heck out of it, it tries to do many things, most of them badly, in the name of growth.

I hope somebody will start a Dropbox competitor as a bootstrapper, with a long-term outlook, no VC funding, and no crazy growth targets. Just do file sync right without eating so much CPU and battery, and without pestering me with useless add-ons, and you'll have my money.

From a business perspective, this is how to succeed. From a shareholder perspective, this is how to fail. They are diametrically opposed, which is hysterical. There can be overlap, but not until your original sword is sharpened to a razors edge, to borrow a phrase.

It's maybe not so common in tech, but being a big stable company isn't incompatible with 'markets, etc.' - you can buy back stock, issue dividends.

This is what Bear did for Evernote, and it's great.

You might get your wish through IPFS / Filecoin...

I've always felt this, I've never seen a business actually _do_ this. Why don't businesses just stop employing so many people? Stop expanding? Stop trying to acquire more users?

I mean, I know from my economics studies that businesses kind of have to keep competing or they die. It's just really sad.

As a mid-30s engineer, one evening I went to my VP of Engineering and suggested that we could be a lot more profitable if we cut back to half our staffing levels and concentrated on excelling at just our core product. She smiled politely and told me we had much brighter future than that.

As a late 40s VP at that same company, we’re about 25x the revenue and a greater ratio than that of free cash flow, employ far more people, and serve far more customers. That’s not in any way sad.

Is there any reason why this growth potential still exists for smaller companies? We're in a thread about how large companies are able to undercut smaller competitors.

They got where they are by raising from investors on the premise they would 10x the money, and also hired top talent with stock options that are only worth anything if the company similarly increases in value. If ambition wasn’t in their DNA, they never would have gotten to the good state you liked in the first place.

The payoff if the growth attempts work is asymmetric, so it’s worth the risk.

> I've always felt this, I've never seen a business actually _do_ this.

I do this. My business has linear growth (which means if you look at year-to-year percentage increases, they decrease over time). I'm very happy with it — I have no pressure from VCs to achieve crazy user growth at all cost, no pressure to show exponential growth. The business works well, the customers are happy, things are good!

There are many businesses like this, they just tend not to be the fashionable ones. You won't read a techcrunch article about one of them. Press will call them disparagingly "lifestyle businesses".

And yet — these are the businesses that make most sense for the users! In a company like that, business goals are 100% aligned with user goals. The business makes money if the users continue paying the subscription fees, which they will do if they are happy and get value from the software.

I've been wishing someone would make 'VC for non-profits'. It would essentially be a charity. Not a 'give money away' charity, just a 'below market rate returns' charity.

The point being to help finance someone making a self sustaining product.

So customers get a product, workers get a salary, 'investors' (doners really) break even.

b/c they hired expensive executives who get bonuses and their greed drives the whole thing. Plus the investors expect it plus you could probably say something about fiduciary responsibility.

Usually to outrun debt service.

> Dropbox and Evernote, for me are two very similar companies.

I was also going to comment on their similarities. It's not mentioned as often, but Evernote's biggest selling point in the beginning was that they figured out how to make multidevice sync work. The product was good, but not unique. In the early days there were no competitors that could offer the comfort of Evernote's sync.

Unfortunately both companies still have a 2010 mindset, at least when it comes to setting price. Neither seems to understand that their pricing is insane in 2021. $120/year is just too much for Dropbox (and nobody's going to fall for the 2 TB thing). Neither has a competitive free offering, so they're dropping off the radar for anyone looking for a free plan. Anyone working at either company that's not looking for a job should be.

Very good point about the pricing. Looking at their income statement [1] DropBox is not a very efficient company:

Cost Of Revenues: $413.7M (22%) in software companies this includes Operations and customer care. There are spending as much as video sharing sites or video conferencing app.

R&D Expenses: $727.8M (39%). This is an insanely high number for a company that is not a startup. The average for bigger companies is below 20%.

If their growth doesn't recover, which will be difficult, they are going to be a prime target for acquisition from Private equity. PE will slash the expenses significantly and run them for a profit for 5-10 years.

[1] https://seekingalpha.com/symbol/DBX/income-statement

> R&D Expenses: $727.8M (39%). This is an insanely high number for a company that is not a startup.

Last I just checked they tried to crawl out of their “it’s all about files. Simple!”-niche and become a fully web-based project management, chat, collaboration, office-thingie with links to GSuite and Office365.

As a long-time user it was quite incomprehensible, and definitely nothing I appreciated or felt added value to my Dropbox. On the contrary, I was annoyed by all the product-nagging about these features I didn’t want.

Combine that with them obsoleting long-established features in their desktop sync-software which made them the only universal file-sync solution across all platforms, the reason I chose Dropbox over competing offers.

Do all that, and you lost people like me as a user. I’m on Nextcloud now and not coming back.

I really don’t think they have worked out their survival plan yet. Trying to outcompete MS and Google on their own turf is obviously not a fight they’re going to win.

This is out of context. Maybe show how these costs have been changing over time vs revenue change to make it more meaningful.

Seeking Alpha link has the changes over time. They were able to reduce the expenses in the last 2 years, but the investors are going to compare them with their competitors, not only with the previous years. FB for example has engineering expenses of 21% better position on the market place and better growth.

Dropbox in the current state can become a target for activist investors like Elliot. The high percent R&D expenses make them more attractive because there is more to cut.

Since when FB is a Dropbox competitor? I'm sure their engineering expenses will continue to drop, esp with the whatsapp exodus to Signal...

Joking aside...

> They were able to reduce the expenses in the last 2 years

That sounds pretty good to me! Reduce expenses but revenue is growing and revenue per user is growing. So they make more money without growing costs. That's great. With the layoffs that ratio would even improve.

Google engineering expenses are 16%.

We can disagree on their future, but for me it is likely that they'll face more challenges and more pressure from the investors.

I don't understand the point about pricing. I find it cheap for something that works perfectly, across any device/OS and never fails, never breaks, and is extremely fast (insanely fast).

The only way one would prefer something half-baked just because it's "free" is if they don't really care about robustness and dependability.

That said, maybe the current Covid crisis is hurting them more than others. I used to travel a lot and leave machines in different places instead of carrying a laptop everywhere. Now that I don't travel, "magic sync" is much less useful.

It’s likely you have enough money that it isn’t prohibitive to you. I think most people would find $10 a month for file syncing crazy. Why would I pay for that instead of Google Drive? It’s one more company I have to share my data with and hope they don’t lose it/get hacked. At least I can log in once with Google (or OneDrive if you are in the Microsoft ecosystem) and two factor authentication and be done with it. I don’t understand the Dropbox business model at all. Hoping people are uninformed about better alternatives? 9 billion market cap for that?

> Why would I pay for that instead of Google Drive?

Because of Google's abysmal customer service which is awful to the point that even googlers can't get help if something goes wrong?

The point of a cloud storage is that you want your most important files to be backed up somewhere that you trust. I don't trust to store my data with an advertising company.

Google Drive also "works perfectly, across any device/OS and never fails, never breaks, and is extremely fast (insanely fast)."

$120/year for privacy and customer support may be worth it to you but for the vast majority of people it's cost prohibitive.

GDrive has no SmartSync for ‘regular’ users and 3rd party solutions have quirks.

* Insync adds xml suffix to files with xml contents.

* Expandrive borks file editing sometimes (happened twice - it was enough to move to Dropbox)

I still use Google Consumer Storage though, thanks to Google Photos. Can’t get rid of it, nothing better feature, simplicity and maintenance wise.

> I find it cheap for something that works perfectly, across any device/OS and never fails, never breaks, and is extremely fast (insanely fast).

That doesn't help if your target customers believe they can get the exact same thing at a much lower price. (And many of them get those services from their employers for free.)

Not everyone lives in the US, here 120 USD equals to half a month of minimum wage.

Neither do I.

$120 is not cheap, not to me.

> Anyone working at either company that's not looking for a job should be

What?? I don't know about Evernote. But did you look at the financials of Dropbox? They have a solid sheet so maybe take a look before you suggest people there to look for another job.

They decided to shift their focus to enterprise. They made a decision not to compete on the consumer side. Enterprises don't need a free tier. I don't know if that was a smart decision, but I'm sure they looked at the numbers and made the decision based on it.

See my post about their expenses [1].

If they don't grow the investors are not going to be happy about the high engineering expenses.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25766475

Expenses alone don't tell the whole store. I replied on your original comment.

> did you look at the financials of Dropbox?

You are aware that this discussion is about an announcement that they're cutting 11% of their workforce, aren't you? Anything can happen when companies get in this position.

You're making an assumption that layoffs mean company is in some trouble and everything can happen. That's clearly not the case here if you check their financials. This is an efficiency move.

Both companies still do good products though — they just aren’t marketing themselves well, I guess.

Evernote support sucks though. Last version has two annoying bugs which still haven’t been fixed since Christmas. But Notion is slooow and Nimbus Notes feels buggy —- I have hit sync bugs in the past and can get 50x errors from server easily, in addition to a random error about the slave being read-only. Both auto-fixed in 5 mins but still...

Everytime I sync something big (many files, many dirs) with Onedrive I feel the urge to check on the website of everything arrived. I don’t trust the UI, and neither this guy [1]. I am a bit more at ease with Google Drive - I use Insync - until I found out Insync was appending the suffix xml to files with xml contents. Insync with OneDrive requires more testing - could be a good replacement but I must do more testing to see if the refusal to sync certain file types like PST and ONE [1] also exists.

[1] https://www.eejournal.com/article/onedrive-down-the-road-to-...

Both evernote and dropbox started making the free service worse by limiting how many devices you could connect. Dropbox also dropped support for xfs filesystems on Linux (which they later brought back, but not after infuriating Linux users). That's when I stopped using both. I then moved to Google Drive (which is half the price of Dropbox), and moved to using markdown note apps sync with Google Drive (which is free!)

I don't think there's a single example of a company where >90% of their userbase if free, and they succeed after making the free user experience worse. They're thinking in terms of money (or reducing costs), but the other view is that they're making the experience for >90% of customers worse.

What dropbox seems to forger is that many of their enterprise contracts happened precisely because the decision makers used dropbox personally, and liked it. By screwing over your free customers, you are actually only hurting future sales.

> markdown note apps sync with Google Drive

Can you recommend the app please?

I migrated away from Evernote when it started to have too much features, and was no longer convenient note taking app.

I'm using Apple Notes now, which is more or less good, but it is vendor-locked, and I plan to move away from iPhone to Android.

I've recently move to using a git repo has my store for notes, and different clients for access and editing.

On Desktop I use Obsidian (although most anything will do) and on mobile I use GitJournal which easily links into an existing git repo.

> on mobile I use GitJournal

Is it good?

On mobile the common case is to launch an app and immediately see/search the notes.

Or type something, close the app and assume notes are synched.

But git pull and git push are not blazing fast operations. And there are no pushes, to get updates from the server immediately.

Git is a good storage, but I doubt it is suitable for notes without intermediate service handing note-specific scenarios.

Hey. I'm the author.

It will try to sync it as soon as it can. If you immediately close GitJournal, it won't be able to. Otherwise, on each modification it tries to sync. (Configurable) Maybe I can add some background sync.

The common use case to see and search through the notes works.

roamresearch.com works really well for me

Roam is pretty expensive and I've heard it can get slow. Have you tried Notion and if so, how would you compare them?

I haven't, roam was the first tool of that class I tried, liked it straightaway and saw no reason to look for alternatives.

Office 365 with MS Teams seems to have reached feature parity with Dropbox and slack in one nice suite of products that just work together seamlessly. You hit on an important insight, with O365 you can edit your documents right from the cloud and cross platform integration is tight with OneDrive and MS Teams.

What does everything think?

I want the company I treat as my primary file storage solution to be fully committed to that feature as their primary selling point. The last thing I want is Google deciding I don't get to save my files there anymore.

Are you sure OneDrive works well? Can you sync PST files? [1] https://www.eejournal.com/article/onedrive-down-the-road-to-...

That's a great article in the link.

I use both and Dropbox is miles better. I don't understand OneDrive and the way everything is linked together in O365. It's a mess and I have no idea what is really going on in there. It reminds me a little of the icloud experience. Just give me a bog standard directory and let me manage it.

I miss native OneDrive Linux support, but otherwise it is quite good. I can even avoid running office in WINE most of the time. And in Windows the experience is very nice, specially the on-demand file sync.

I think both of these companies could be successful, profitable small software shops if they stayed focused and lean. But they raise money and need to shoot for the moon, and it becomes all or nothing, and that's how they end up in trouble.

I understand that Dropbox feels they need to add features to compete, especially as they compete with Google and OneDrive, which both bundle a bunch of extra free stuff. But that should never be at the cost of your core product. Dropbox purchased zulip, and then dropped it. They also launched paper. Not sure anyone uses that.

I agree and I'd love to support Dropbox. But I think in order for me to consider that they'd need to have a somewhat competitive pricing model.

For example: I'm currently slowly running out of my free Google cloud storage that came with my Gmail account (15GB?). The next step for me is to upgrade to 100GB which will probably be enough for at least the next 10 years or so. With Google Drive that will cost me $1.99 per month which is more than reasonable. With Dropbox the next biggest package (after exceeding the free storage limit of 2GB) is to upgrade to a $11.99 plan for 2 TB (waaaaay more than I will ever need).

I'm willing to pay 5.99 for idealistic reasons but I'm not willing to pay more than that just for the sake of supporting a "smaller" non-FAANG company. They need to provide a better deal for something between 2 GB and 2 TB.

Thats at least a big part of their problem. Apple has smaller jumps ($1.99/$3.99/$9.99). Dropbox has none - its right to a massive amount for a big price.

I would've stayed on Dropbox if they offered 100G for $4.99 or something, but instead I switched to OneDrive and pay $6.99 which also includes Office!

You're not a potential customer. They gave up on consumers and focus on companies. Cannot blame them they don't want to lose money on individual users like the competition.

Even the business plans make no sense. 5TB to share between all employees? Or pay a lot more and get no real answer on what their 'as much as you need' means. It sounds like you have to contact their support and explain why you could possibly need more and then its up to them to decide.

Google workspaces is still a better deal and they're not currently even limiting storage.

And yet they are cutting 11% of their staff because they are losing money...

Maybe they should figured out somewhere inbetween.

They are losing big enterprises to Office 365 too. I know at least three 100k+ companies which moved to OneDrive from Dropbox (with lot of grumble from employees to add) in the last couple of years.

They compete with Google for startups and small companies.

They are stuck in the middle and both Google and Microsoft are crushing them from above and below.

Having healthy consumer subscriptions wouldn’t hurt.

I hope those products have enough customers that think the way I do.

The reason I use and pay for Dropbox is that the primary focus of the company is to offer a product that syncs my files across multiple machines and keeps a copy of those files online. The have to do it well, or else they fail. It makes me nervous as a customer whenever I see them trying to "grow" by offering other products.

I don't trust Microsoft, Google or Amazon one bit with their competing products. Those are gigantic companies that don't depend on those working well, and they could kill them overnight.

The problem though is this mindset that everything has to constantly grow. That's what makes me nervous as a customer. I don't see what could be so wrong with building a product that works well and maintaining that long term, being satisfied with having a customer base that allows the business to be self-sustainable. If that customer base grows, great. More money. Otherwise, as long as it doesn't shrink to the point where it becomes unsustainable, it should be just fine. But often I have a feeling that that kind of feeling is verboten for tech companies.

Purely from a product perspective I think Evernote still has one big advantage over competitors - it's web clipper and related browser plug-in works almost flawlessly.

I know there are other applications to save websites offline, but there aren't many that have the functionality built into your notes editor.

The ones that do offer one such Bear and Notion have a vast amount of stability, performance and content / layout preservation problems making their web clippers all but useless for anything other than a plain text site.

If anyone does have a recommendation of an Evernote alternative (preferably a native app for macOS and iOS) with an excellent web clipper - I'd be very interested to check it out.

Bear web clipper has worked great for me over the past year or so. It was definitely not great before that.

Does it preserve web page layout?

It badly malforms things like tables, lists, diagrams that contain multiple images etc... for me.

The Firefox plugin seems to frequently fail to communicate with bear.

It also can't seem to clip any website you're logged into, for say you have a private wiki you're logged into, you try clipping it and it ends up just clipping the authentication page.

> It will be a sad day when a $2B business can't survive and is forced to sell.

You're forgetting that Dropbox has a very generic product, that eventually any large company like Google or Apple needs to replicate (or already has replicated).

It doesn’t take thousands of engineers to build Dropbox. WhatsApp had 11 engineers.

Be scrappy, and don’t buy the expensive “your success is measured by your fundraising” trap.

Bottom line: Dropbox has 0 relevance for gen Z users, we all use Wetransfer for sharing, iCloud or Google Drive for storing


It peaked in 2012 when the millennials were in college, but it hasn't been cool for the past 5 years now. I never use dropbox ever again after they got rid of Carousel and Mailbox because I frankly don't trust them with my files

Google trends can be interesting, but it's important to keep in mind that people who have dropbox installed and are paying the subscription don't spend their time googling for dropbox.

I get your overall point, but isn't Salesforce buying Slack? Just noting on the "it _will_ be a sad day" - perhaps it already is?

It’s crazy difficult to survive in a market where your competitor is Microsoft who gives their product which is almost your product away for free.

Microsoft is at the ‘good enough’ stage for most people with OneDrive already. Dropbox is going to have a really hard time competing.

Currently there are 93 Internet companies with more than 1 Billion dollar in revenue and that list growing every year.


Thank you for the list.

Going quickly through the companies there:

   - Rackspace was sold to private equity and restructured and made public a second time.
   - LogMeIn was sold to private equity
   - Kaplan is part of bigger company
   - Ultimate software merged with Kronos
   - Shutterfly was acquired by private equity
   - Wirecard is a scam.
   - Grubhub is going to be acquired by a bigger competitor
   - Travelport, Expedia and Bookings are 3 very similar companies which bought all the smaller competitors.

Also note that these are internet companies and do no include myriad other software companies, including enterprise tech. So I am not sure if I agree with your concern on tech being reduced to 5-10 big companies.

man I love evernote. I dont want to use ios notes and deal with all the confusion icloud brings. I love using a service that is hyper focused on one thing and does it well.

> We need smaller innovative businesses to succeed too. It will be a sad day when a $2B business can't survive and is forced to sell.

That is normal under capitalism; There are some allowed advantages like vertical integration and economics of scale for dominant buisnesses and many recognized monopolistic practices (like bundling across markets, zero-rating your service trough mobile providers, and free-offerings to undercut competition, etc)

Dropbox has been hammered by Wall Street ever since it went public. On the surface it should be trading well enough given it's revenue growth from when it went public to now, however, the narrative of competing with both Microsoft and Google was a tough one to play down.

Revenue growth will slow down to below 20% in 2021 which basically starts to take DBX out of the high growth tech stock focus and it is trading at less than 5x 2021 revenue when the median is somewhere closer to the 12-14x range and that's for companies below 30% growth.

The same was seen with Slack. Though they had great revenue growth, the narrative was that they couldn't compete with Microsoft and so their stock never really traded at a comparable revenue multiple compared to others.

It could be said that they have a heavy spend on Sales and Marketing but the same could be said of plenty of other Enterprise tech focused companies like MongoDB that still commands a very high forward looking multiple.

Unfortunately from the end-user side the experience has suffered somewhat and I've personally switched away from Dropbox so I can't really say they are doing great on the product side and the amount of "Growth Hacking for Revenue" that is now part of the product experience is a bit off-putting.

Also shows the potential for issues if you end up solely dependent on one product and don't diversity, especially if it's seen as a commodity.

The work force reduction is purely to turn the company profitable on a net basis and the trailing twelve months they've already gotten into the black. That's down from a $400MM loss just a couple of years ago.

But the belief is that there isn't a tremendous amount of profitability internally, because the expenditures are just too high, and cutting further into that theoretically will reduce revenue growth further.

It's dismaying that even the best, most shining examples of unicorns that took off on the backs of good products and have stood toe-to-toe with the mega-corps, are now losing value simply because they're competing with the mega-corps, and being forced to look for acquisitions just like all the other startups.

If that doesn't plainly show that big tech has gotten too big, I don't know what will.

I disagree, mega-corps aren't the problem. As Steve Jobs famously said: they're a feature, not a product.

Even if you eliminate Microsoft, Google, AND Amazon from the discussion, the list of alternatives is endless.

Synology and QNAP both have a "free" sync and share client. WD, Seagate, Samsung, Apple, not to mention the open-source options out there. Do the big 3 put MORE pressure on Dropbox, sure. But they never pivoted. Just look at a company like Druva - we used them forever ago as a file sync and share, and now they look very, very different.

Dropbox's problem isn't mega-corps or "big tech getting too big", it's that they didn't or couldn't innovate beyond their core product.

> I disagree, mega-corps aren't the problem. As Steve Jobs famously said: they're a feature, not a product.

I almost kneejerk downvoted out of disagreement. Mega-corps are _a_ problem, but not the problem here, which you astutely pointed out.

Dropbox didn't/couldn't innovate beyond their core product is clearly the issue here.

Additionally, most of what I find that companies use Dropbox for equates to Shadow IT. Something that mature corporations ruthlessly eliminate.

The thing is that I (and many people) still want exactly the core product that Dropbox offers (and does better than anyone else), even if that's a smaller market than it was ten years ago. It makes sense that businesses would want to get all of their IT solutions from a single integrated company for simplicity's sake, and it makes sense that consumers don't mess with actual files as much as they used to. But for my own purposes I actually wish Dropbox would stop trying to move beyond their core product. And even though the market of people like me has shrunk, I don't think it will ever go away completely.

Perhaps your storage needs are low, but I feel like at this point once you're past 4-5TB, a Synology or QNAP NAS is a no-brainer for anyone even remotely technical.

I need quite a lot of storage for my projects and am up to a 42TB Enterprise NAS at home w/ Fujitsu helium-filled drives. Probably more than Dropbox customers would ever want to spend, but well worth it for me. Even if I didn't need as much storage, I'm pretty sure I would use the same product.

Access from all of my devices is easy as they're all on one VPN, including my phones.

I only use about 70GB right now; 2TB is as much as I could imagine ever needing.

That 70GB includes a modest collection of music from before the streaming era, a few videos, backups of old documents, Blender projects, Unity projects, a backup of all my photos from my phone (from the past few years), a couple archives of family photos (from the past few decades). I also back up product licenses and shell profiles there, for easy setup of new machines (which I highly recommend). The only important files that don't go in my Dropbox are my actual code projects, since those live on GitHub.

I use a whole lot more space than that when it comes to software, of course - Steam games, in particular - but there's no reason to put any of that on Dropbox because it can be trivially re-downloaded. I have 4TB of disk space on my desktop, but nearly everything outside of that 70GB is a glorified cache.

I honestly can't fathom how I would utilize 42TB of backed-up data storage, unless I decided to start torrenting. And anyway, a local NAS won't do me much good if the house burns down or gets broken-into. A cloud storage solution that presumably gets replicated across multiple data centers, and also mirrors local copies on all of my devices, is the most durable data storage solution I can imagine.

My local NAS includes replication to cloud storage and is encrypted so not super useful if stolen.

I prefer having access from my devices without the replication.

Fair. I'm still curious how you use that much space?

I create a lot of media and shoot raw.

I do back up my Steam library, btw, because occasionally they remove games. That folder is at about 4TB.

Linux ISO's Of course....

//inside joke if you dont know.... Data Hoarders only every have Linux ISO's....

Why can't a good feature survive on the market?

One reason is that there's friction with purchasing. If a company already buys Active Directory and O365, it's much easier to get OneDrive added on than it is to set up a new vendor like Dropbox.

Because it can be copied and doesn't have a defendable business model.

For most people, consolidating many services into one is just more convenient, even if it means using a "good-enough" version of that feature.

How is that meaningfully different than a product which can be copied?

I think features are often products for other companies, not for end-users.

E.g., digital displays are a "feature, not a product". End-users get value out of digital displays on their thermostats, microwaves, etc., but no end-user buys a digital display themselves, thermostat and microwave manufactures buy them.

I think the problem with Dropbox is that it's become too easy for product companies to build data syncing themselves.

That's certainly one perspective, the other is that in the consumer segment churn is high but also the are a tremendous amount of people.

Dropbox had a head start but over time other companies like Google where able to build out competing services and because the total population of potential consumers continued to increase, a lead today, doesn't guarantee a lead tomorrow.

The other side of is that what made Dropbox amazing at the beginning, the ability to sync files with direct access on your computer, is actually now a detriment. Many users don't want the files locally, download speeds have increased dramatically (I have 1Gbps fiber at my apartment), so having the files locally is actually annoying and takes up diskspace, so you have a bit of a late mover advantage, especially if the population of available consumers continues to increase.

In this case it isn't simply X couldn't compete with big Tech, the landscape did shift a bit.

It's also important to note that Dropbox is still a very successful company, and if they aren't chasing revenue growth and profit they still provide a great service to consumers. But their growth chasing leads to a degraded user experience, which also pushes people away from their product and has them explore alternatives to really see if it's an apples to apples comparison. And that's where the "cloud" first storage solutions today present a better platform.

What really slows this down is the cost of switching for older customers that have a tremendous amount of data already in Dropbox and have it integrated into their workflows so it really isn't a fun project to migrate off.

This is also where the price increases create revenue growth because customers aren't willing to go through the pain of migration, but you aren't delivering more value to them, instead you are playing off of the cost switching to drive revenue growth and that begins a downward trajectory.

> The other side of is that what made Dropbox amazing at the beginning, the ability to sync files with direct access on your computer, is actually now a detriment

I disagree; file syncing is still exactly what I want. Disk space has gotten exponentially cheaper over the years, and at the same time the amount of bulk media that people store as personal files has been dramatically cut down thanks to streaming services for music and video. I don't mind at all having my entire Dropbox mirrored across my devices; it holds basically every local file I care about, and having a local copy also gives me some peace of mind in case I ever get locked out of my account or something (which Google in particular has become notorious for). You can also, now, select subdirectories that you want to exclude from the current device. At the same time, having it in the cloud means I don't have to worry if my hard drive dies. Any file that I've thoughtlessly kept there while working on it is safe by default.

Maybe the story would be different if I ever created classical "documents" and could benefit from Office 365 or Google Docs, but I don't, and so having a cloud-first storage "drive" that primarily holds things which integrate with that particular cloud service isn't very useful to me.

> But their growth chasing leads to a degraded user experience

You're right that parts of the product have gotten distracted/annoying by trying to build out new differentiators. But the core product (file syncing and backup) still works much better than competitors, and it's not hard to simply ignore the new stuff.

Also, perhaps most importantly: I use products from multiple tech giants, and all three major operating systems, and I specifically don't want my cloud storage to only integrate well with one of them. I want it to work equally well across everything. And Dropbox does, at least compared with the competition.

Yeah I think there is still definitely a segment that want the disk syncing, but for me it was actually becoming a hinderance and having everything online was actually much easier. Plus I started doing more file storage that I was accessing both on desktop and iphone. Certainly the original use case for Dropbox of local sync was amazing and exactly what I needed years ago, but my work/life needs have changed over time and I wouldn't be surprised if a larger amount of people are falling in to the cloud first category today as compared to when Dropbox originally launched.

Back then cloud syncing just made no sense at all because the speeds were pretty bad and inconsistent.

Not saying everyone falls into this category, but just pointing out that the market has evolved somewhat from their original position.

I use Dropbox on my iPhone and it works great. I can see how that particular use-case doesn't benefit as much from the "just syncing local files" paradigm, but it certainly isn't a worse experience. In fact, these days Dropbox is my favored mechanism for transferring files to and from my phone. The auto-sync on the desktop side is much easier than going through a website.

Historically there has been an argument in economics over whether markets necessarily tend towards consolidation, and I'm inclined to agree with Stiglitz that they do: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/joseph-stiglitz-are-m...

Especially in markets with strong network effects. Barring government action, operating systems / platforms will necessarily either directly subsume their most profitable applications, or capture all the market "rent" from them.

Ultimately "network shared storage" is a feature rather than a product. For much of their history they were value-added resellers of AWS.

I agree completely. I think history (at least, the past 150 years) has shown this clearly. I've come to see an economy of corporations as a stew that tends to "clump up" and needs to be periodically "stirred" as part of the natural course of its development.

It's cyclic between consolidation and new investments.

We're just ramping up into the consolidation period now.

For me it was the lack of storage tiers. When the only options is to get 1TB or more, I think you lost a lot of users. Additionally, they should have figured out a way to share storage with a family, if the only profitable storage tiers are 1TB or more then let people share it.

Meh, we're talking a single-digit increase in price to go from the previous-lowest tier to the current-lowest 2TB tier. I only use a tiny fraction of it, but it's still a good value.

The family thing makes sense - I don't have a family I would share with so it's never come up - though couldn't you just sign into the same account on multiple devices?

Signing into the same account on multiple devices creates security and ownership issues, much better to be able to delegate permissions and also keep ownership clearly understood.

Is that really a concern within a household? Give each person a top-level directory

Wait till some siblings get pissed off at each other and start deleting important files that the other one cares about =]

Guess I'm revealing my ignorance about what it's like to have kids :)

I can tell you don't have any horny teenagers in your household :)

Well for my needs the Dropbox plan costs 10 times more than the Google or iCloud plan. Because I need 50GB, not 2000.

Its a huge jump from $0 to $12 a month!

They do now have a family plan: https://www.dropbox.com/family

An alternative interpretation might be that a company that just makes one thing may not survive as a publicly traded entity considering the scrutiny and industry comparisons that entails.

GSuite and Office 365 do not trade as standalone companies, but even if they did, they'd be far ahead of Dropbox, as they integrate cloud storage with an entire suite of office products.

Company can exist and provide good services even without being overvalued on a stock market. If there's anything dismaying it's to see how investors can kill good products because they want more.

It's never easy to say conclusively why a stock goes up or down. But do we really need this megacorp explanation? Dropbox could be losing value because they've been trying to make money for a loooooong time and still aren't.

Market is simple and effective.

Shining examples of unicorns? Then they need to prove they can indeed exist in real world. They shouldn't be treated differently.

>If that doesn't plainly show that big tech has gotten too big, I don't know what will.

Or...it could be free markets don't work? Why blame big tech when this same cycle has proven itself out over way too many historical economic eras.

I'm a paying customer for Dropbox and I've just had it installed on my computer for when I occasionally had to share files with customers. Never really felt I used it to any extent but I also never canceled my subscription because I'm happy for what it is and I can't bother to find alternatives.

However my computer recently crashed and when "re-installing" Dropbox I discovered that they have many more useful "Apps" included like backup and password-sync and a neat paper scanning app for the phone. All of which I was very happy to discover. So I see myself keeping my subscription for the foreseeable future. :)

> Dropbox has been hammered by Wall Street ever since it went public.

"Hammered" ha SV lives in a dream world. Its barely making a profit and no great product in the future. It still has market cap more than say Wendy's and H&R Block put together.

What do you use as an alternative to Dropbox? I haven't found anything that works as well across multiple platforms. I really hate all the feature bloat in it, which I never use, and weird decisions like dropping non-ext4. But still, for basic file syncing it seems hard to beat.

Sadly Linux users are like 1% of the market, non-ext4 is even less (and I am a full-time Linux user and big ZFS fan). They actually restored support for several non-ext4 filesystems over a year ago[1].

1: https://hub.packtpub.com/dropbox-walks-back-its-own-decision...

OneDrive has been absolutely rock solid for me (even on a Mac)

Syncdocs has been working reliably for me for years. They seem to focus on the core file-syncing stuff, which works fast and reliably, rather than blingy features.

I'm very happy with Tresorit - https://tresorit.com

I loved Tresorit but it's camera upload feature didn't transfer files correctly from my wife's iPhone - it left them corrupted and unopenable with no warnings or errors whatsoever.

Unfortunately because of that alone I dropped them completely. I'm using Dropbox now because I haven't found a better alternative for syncing between iPhone/Android/Windows/Linux.

what things that you need synced

It's quite expensive though

Yeh true but as an other example Dropbox missed out on the privacy and end to end encryption market.

My use case maybe different from yours but GDrive has worked well for me.

The others are generally not supported on Linux. Dropbox has a cli client here that mostly works. At least if we are talking Google/Microsoft. Or the companies are small enough to go under overnight and leave me in a lurch

If long-term is your game and you don't like the big boys, you should probably look into Syncthing. Being an open protocol, it will never go away.

Google drive unofficial client works pretty well for me on Linux.

There is a difference between official and unofficial support. Also, Dropbox is big enough to be around for a while, but this is their product and if it goes south, so do they. I don't trust Google to maintain any product before rebranding, pushing the work to the users, or dropping the product. They have shown otherwise.

Insync works well for Google Drive on Linux.

It did. Recent versions add the suffix xml to files with xml contents, unfortunately.

Have a look at Syncthing.

Syncthing is solid. Maybe a little too geeky for most, but for tech-minded people it can really work. I've had little issues here and there, but it definitely solves some problems for me.

I generally use Dropbox for personal files and Syncthing for business. It's a great setup to keep those things separate.

Secure access over the internet is a limitation of self hosting.

Box seems to be taking some of the enterprise market share.

It's funny that a lot of their acquisitions were in spaces that had the potential to exceed the market cap of their core product (which is currently stuck at 9B) had they been more successful:

- HelloSign for esignatures, compared to DocuSign which has a 48.29B market cap

- Zulip for chat, compared to Slack which has a 24.30B market cap

- Carousel for photos, compared to Instagram which is estimated at 100B market cap

- Paper for documents

- Mailbox for emails

I think Google Photos would be a closer comparison for Carousel. I think it would've been the smart play for Dropbox to expand on that if they wanted to maintain consumer customers. Photos are kinda the only thing people willingly pay to save/backup and they're a royal pain in the ass to organize.

But then again, it's hard to compete against free for $0.10/user margins. Way easier catching a couple of big enterprise fishes.

It sucks having to pay google and dropbox for storage cuz i have files and photos. Dropbox doesnt do photos well, i dont trust them for it. Dropbox wants to do photos, but doesn’t separate that from storing files, so just searches all my files for images or something. Also, it doesn’t allow searching based on image recognition.

They canceled Carousel after Google Photos came out.

More important than revenue growth is the expected margins after the growth slows down.

What Dropbox is selling is something that will be bulk commodity. They will never be able to settle and get good revenue.

The problem is that revenue growth per se does not make a company valuable - or actually, it does while you can convince someone else to buy under the assumption that said growth will deliver competitive profits.

Selling to Wall Street is the "final sell": once it's done, you need to convince that profits grow, not just revenues.

This scares the shit out of me. Long story short: I work for a company about to go public...this year to be exact. It sounded exciting at first but as I dug deeper I realized some companies start dying slowly after IPO. I guess I’ll have see it to believe it :(

This is interesting because having layoffs at a company that should be going off like a rocket during a pandemic is odd. What is going on at Dropbox that prevented them from taking advantage of the huge shift to remote work?

For individuals Dropbox is quite expensive compared to services like OneDrive. Microsoft 365 Personal is 70$/year and gives you 1TB on OneDrive and full access to the Office offering. Dropbox for individuals is 200$/year for 3TB. And nothing else.

Unless you're hoarding data or want to avoid Microsoft, the choice is simple. And I'm sure you have even cheaper services.

I actually switched to OneDrive when Dropbox changed their pricing a while ago. Microsoft's offering was way more competitive on both price (€100/yr for 5x1TB) and features (Office access and integration, etc.)

Yes, but I have 1 gbit uplink and upload speads are 3 megabytes per second at best. Actually, I tried via rclone from VPSs at various locations also and no change. Frankly, that's shit. I've been paying the 2€/month 100GB storage plan simply because the OneDrive Android app does its job of offloading photos quickly well but that's really it's good for. That, and uploading 100K-1M Office documents.

As soon as I noticed this issue, the deal of 1TB storage with a O365 subscription also went sour. 1TB I can't really use -- no deal.

This problem is well known; it's all over the internet -- OneDrive is a sloth. It doesn't affect downloads, btw.

That is exactly what I did as well.

> Unless you're hoarding data or want to avoid Microsoft

...or have access to a licensed copy of the "real" Microsoft Office, the desktop app, which doesn't lag (that much), where all keyboard shortcuts work, drag-and-drop isn't too surprising, and you can use over a slow/metered/non-existent connection (bus, train, airplane), so you don't really care about Office 365.

Or you use it for something other than Word, Excel and Powerpoint. I know plenty of people who do architecture, landscaping or design who use Dropbox precisely because most of the things they use it for don't involve Office (much).

For lots of people, Microsoft 365 Personal is 70 $/year for 1 TB and a bunch of things that might as well be Google Docs, which are free. 200$/year for three times more storage space isn't a terribly bad deal.

Edit: yes, I realize Microsoft 365 allows you to use the desktop apps. That doesn't add much if you already have the desktop apps. Or if you don't need either the web or the desktop version.

> ...or have access to a licensed copy of the "real" Microsoft Office, the desktop app, which doesn't lag (that much), where all keyboard shortcuts work, drag-and-drop isn't too surprising, and you can use over a slow/metered/non-existent connection (bus, train, airplane), so you don't really care about Office 365.

Microsoft 365 allows you to download the desktop app versions of Office. No need for an internet connection after that.

Until you get a message that you cannot save until it verifies your account again. Multiple people at my company including me got hit with it on OSX.

> 200$/year for three times more storage space isn't a terribly bad deal.

If you use the storage, then sure. But I would assume that you can then find better prices for 3TB.

You can see it this way:

- if you want an office license, it's 70$/year, and as a bonus you have a dropbox equivalent for free for 1TB.

- if you want some storage, up to 1TB, OneDrive is 70$/year, and as a bonus you have access to the complete office suite for free (yes, you can download all the office applications to run them locally and up to date, and also have access to the web versions)

I personally don't see how Dropbox can compete. The competition is cheaper, has more features, and offers almost the same user experience.

> If you want an office license, it's 70$/year, and as a bonus you have a dropbox equivalent for free for 1TB.

My point was that if you already have an Office license, it's 70$/year for something you already have + 1 TB (on what, until recently, used to be a pretty shoddy Dropbox clone, rather than a Dropbox equivalent -- but maybe it's improved in the meantime). In that case, there's no bonus.

You can still use office desktop with office 365

Not entirely accurate. I didn’t even realize this was a thing, but on the Dropbox web interface you can now open docs, slideshows and spreadsheets in either Office365 or Google Office without accounts on either.

Oh, I didn’t know this. Thanks for sharing

I been using Dropbox since the beginning and I only discovered it last week.

Dropbox actually still has a $9.99/mo (if billed anually) 2TB plan for individuals. Still not the cheapest price-wise, but not unreasonable.

Which is crazy.

Why not a $3.99 for 100GB? $7.99 for 1TB?

A lot of people (myself included) said "That's too much money especially since I don't need that much space."

Exactly. They make money selling 1 or 2 TB to people who need a few GB.

You're right, I didn't notice that by default they direct you to business tiers and you have to click on a small link to switch to the "basic" plans. Their website has become such a weird thing to navigate...

It's not bad, but these big companies can bundle it all together and drive the little companies out of business, for personal use at least. Apple is offering 2TB iCloud Drive, plus all their other online services for $30 per month.

Yep. Certainly my contention. I don't need an expensive 5TB (tier in Canada). I need an affordable 1/2 TB to 1TB.

a self-hosted NextCloud is way cheaper

At one time, Dropbox was the easiest and best solution if you were using Android, MacOS, and Windows. I used to pay for 1TB account although Apple offered 2TB for same monthly fee. But the Dropbox destroyed their simple UI to this ugliness clusterfuck. That was the motivation for me to cancel it and move 100% into Apple's ecosystem.

I'm still not sure what I could migrate to that would give me solid and trustworthy sync/access across Windows, Mac, iOS, and Linux.

I'm happy to pay whatever I pay for Dropbox -- I don't actually remember what it is -- but I'd rather they stop throwing in bullshit kitchen-sink features.

I still use Dropbox because I care about what you mentioned, but I think the next best thing is Seafile, however it has bad symlink handling.

I was in a similar boat and fairly recently started using pCloud, which I've been liking a lot. It has minimal frills and just focuses on file storage and sharing. I mainly use the Linux and web clients, both of which are excellent. I don't have any association with them outside of being a happy customer.

Nextcloud. You can buy the service directly at various providers, such as Hetzner.

Another solution is Google Drive, adding Insync for desktop sync.

I have zero interest in administering my own services like it appears Nextcloud, even with Hetzner, would require. I've been there and done that, but I'm too far out of the sysadmin game now to do a good job of it. It's a bad use of my time, and not something I enjoy as a hobby.

I'm unwilling to use Google services if I can avoid it.

The service I mentioned (Hetzner, but there are others) do all the administration for you. You get a login and password into a Nextcloud instance, that's it. No administration required.

See here: https://www.hetzner.com/storage/storage-share

I can vouch for this. I haven't really done anything on the web interface, I use it for file sync like i used to use Dropbox, and I have clients in Windows, Linux and Android and it just works.

Yikes! That's a lot more expensive for my data usage than Dropbox!

That's possible if you use more than 1 TB. Otherwise they're cheaper, quite significantly for smaller amounts.

Yes but latest Insync adds xml suffix to files with xml contents. To keep feature parity to Google Drive Web downloads, they say. Duh! :(

Do you have a source explaining the issue a bit more? I haven't found anything and don't exactly understand what you mean.

It must be specific to Windows. I can't reproduce it on Linux.

wtf? Can you comment on the Insync Forums thread please?

Thank you!

Ok, I spoke too fast. It does add the extension but only if it gets modified/moved from Google Drive. If you just sync from your PC it stays as is.

That's a problem indeed.

Yup. That must have been how I triggered it -- I moved main folder around.

For the record, I tried with Google Drive File Stream, and it doesn't do that. So that's on Insync, not Google Drive.

I made the decision to migrate away for exactly the same reason. I think they are desperately trying to be more than a “feature” (as Steve Jobs correctly labelled them) and in this desperation they are obfuscating the very feature that brought people to them in the first place.

I think Box ate their lunch in the corporate sphere and they have a lot more competition in the consumer space from things like OneDrive and iCloud Drive. The only reason I still have Dropbox at all is because I don’t have a reason to pull the plug—and it wouldn’t have to be much of an excuse.

Their device limit gave me my reason to leave them. When they started haemorrhaging corporate customers, they attacked their consumer users. I can't say I find the result hugely shocking.

I actually just moved all my stuff from Dropbox to B2 buckets. My December bill was like $0.09

I'm interested in moving off Dropbox in the same way, and B2 sounds interesting. Is there an app comparable to Dropbox working with B2, or did you have to build that app yourself?

I used RClone to sync to B2. They've got an iPhone app that you can download to browse + download from the bucket, else the website itself.

There might be further reasons for it, but I mostly use it as an offsite backup that my wife could upload to -- so usability was a plus -- but not worth that kind of premium.

Not the parent, but you can do this with Nextcloud. It supports using object storage as a backend, and B2 is compatible with S3.

I wonder if the omission is due to HN bias of disliking Google, but Google Drive has the largest market share in the segment Dropbox competes in.

It was not meant to be a slight. I have Google Drive, but I primarily use iCloud and I was thinking in terms of desktop OS platform rather than major tech companies or market share; ie, I use iCloud on Mac, what’s the one MS built into windows?

Their UX has become worse, questionable design choices, and 2 GB limit is almost a joke. Chances are, if you're in the market, you just use something like Box which provides a lot more value for free.

I'm a long time user and when people talk about the UX (many, not just you), I am always puzzled. What UX are you speaking of? For me, Dropbox is just a folder on my hard drive with no real UX to speak of. It's the ultimate "gets out of my way and just works". Are you talking about the web site?

There's a challenging to use UI that has become part of the installation process on recent updates. Most of the time it tries to advertise to me that I need to use Dropbox Paper rather than making it easy to copy/manage folders from external sources. (I need to do a bit more than just manage files/folders, like handle external shares, so I have to use the UI they provide for doing this.)

Dropbox tried to branch out into the "collaboration space" with their Paper feature/product and since then, the web UI has got worse.

I use only their online app and it's where their UX got much worse recently.

I churned when Dropbox started removing features and asking for more money. e.g. limits on number of devices, more frequent nags, forcing me to unlink devices that had already been linked. I'm not going to be bullied into being a paying customer.

When they limited the number of devices I looked at the paid plans.

But the lowest-end plan costs about the same as Netflix, and I have too many subscriptions in my life already.

That's what a lot of people are saying up and down this thread.

Limited devices (ugh) and high cost to unlimit (ugh).

That didn't have to happen.

Makes me wonder why Amazon hasn’t throw together a Dropbox like competitor free with Prime.

Storage-as-a-service is a commodity and race to the bottom. Check $BOX and $DBX 5 year charts.

Good luck competing with GAFA on this, best hope is a buyout. Firesale on depreciating assets.

On the consumer side, storage will become an appliance, like a (stick of butter sized) fridge. Or just included in your centralized home + family control center.

> On the consumer side, storage will become an appliance, like a (stick of butter sized) fridge. Or just included in your centralized home + family control center.

You can already get an inexpensive Synology NAS with a slick UI and backups to a cloud provider of your choice, or Nextcloud, although there's probably room on both for one click import from your existing Dropbox account using your auth and their API to migrate contents.

This is not backed up by anything besides your opinion. The main chart you should look at is the increase in number of paying customers month after month.

Dropbox is much more than just storage. They also have their own infrastructure and don't depend on GAFA. They made a decision to not compete on the consumer side. I didn't like it but you cannot blame them given the large pockets of the competition and the fact they can monetize those costumers with their other products unlike Dropbox. They compete in enterprise where price is not the main factor like it's for consumers and doing it successfully.

I will ping you in 5 years... (they might indeed get acquired though. If that happens it's gonna be for at least double of what $dbx is worth today)

It makes no sense not to compete on the consumer side. The enterprise side has enormous barriers to entry, like a long sales cycle, RFPs, security audits etc. Office 365 simply offers more, plus with a familiar interface that doesn't require extra training for end-users.

Who is going to be championing Dropbox on the enterprise buyer's side? Employees that are satisfied consumers or the IT office that uses the same 4-5 vendors for everything?

I don't say you're right or wrong, cause I don't know. All I can say is that you cannot say "makes no sense" because it's been working OK for them so far. They have ~15M paying users and the number keeps growing (not at a very high pace but still steady growth). Their revenue is growing at a higher pace than expenses. Enterprise sales is not easy but they have been doing it for a while now. They also expand their product line to be a more complete solution for team productivity and collaboration. They have been doing a lot of mistakes on the way. They launched many products that failed. Their vision was lacking. But overall their numbers show it's a healthy company moving in the right direction. It's just not been growing in the pace everyone was thinking they would after their IPO.

They are switching from growth to revenue mode. It smells to me like priming for a deal.

It’s a commoditized space and the competition has easier access to new users... Microsoft, Google, Apple... all offer similar services bundled in.

I'm guessing because they solve interop problem between systems, which is going away.

Great idea and execution, very valuable but seemed valued even higer than that to me (i.e overvalued). They were well-placed for app hosting - but lots of competition and it's hard to hit the jackpot twice (even google hasn't managed it, nor apple, arguably).

Why should they be going off like a rocket?

more people are working remotely which probably requires more people looking for ways to share files more efficiently.

Most of the people do need to find a ways to share files more efficiently, but hardly any sane company would choose Dropbox given their security proposal.

For any given technology or service, given the choice between the cheapest consumer option and a reliable enterprise option that costs 50% more, most small businesses will choose the consumer option every time.

Which would be OneDrive

For me and my company and friends this has meant more realizing the features of things we already paid for (Office 365, etc) rather than paying for Dropbox.

The last thing my free account does is sync my 1Password - and I’ll likely go cloud on that soon anyway

I imagine that sharing files would be the same regardless of whether you are remote or not. Even in a real office people don't usually hand USB sticks back and forth.

I have no data, but more remote people either has 0 impact, or impact on more data sharing online. Lots of businesses still work a lot on paper (think lawyers, notaries, etc) especially while working with clients, and are not forced to share docs differently.

All remote collaboration software is growing like bonkers during the pandemic because of remote work.

How workflow changes regarding storage when employees start working remotely?

People will just share the same way they shared while in the office.

Because they are core piece of remote work culture, like Zoom and Box.

They’re a core piece of regular office work as well. Apps like Zoom were not part of the office life, while Dropbox was.

They are consumer oriented. Companies scaled up their Box instances, so they are likely doing well. But Dropbox never really had the Corp customer.

And with people having access to Box, why would they bother with Dropbox?

We see a lot of SMBs using Dropbox and have rarely encountered Box out in the wild. In both cases, they are often converting over to OneDrive - the Office Suite is still a very, very strong play in that most companies need/prefer it to alternatives, and since OneDrive is bundled the question inevitably gets asked, "why am I paying for DropBox if I have OneDrive/SharePoint included in this cost over here?". No good answer, really. I mean there are things that DropBox does better, but for a lot of businesses those strengths aren't valuable enough to pay the premium.

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