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Mailbox Is Joining Dropbox (mailboxapp.com)
379 points by samps 397 days ago | comments


tomschlick 397 days ago | link

GOD DAMNIT NOT AGAIN!

I really do hope that they progress on the path they started instead of just acquiring mailbox for the talent. I know they said that they would but thats what we heard about Sparrow when they were bought by Google and the results sucked.

Good luck to everyone on the mailbox team, I love your product, please don't kill it.

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smalter 397 days ago | link

No, they were pretty up front that Sparrow was a talent acquisition. They said that the product would continue to exist but they weren't going to update it and they were going to work on new projects at Google.

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lttlrck 397 days ago | link

Talent acquired and squandered. Google has no decent mail app on iOS.

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myko 397 days ago | link

Pretty subjective. I find Gmail the most pleasant mail app to use on my iPad.

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resu_nimda 396 days ago | link

The Gmail app is slick, but extremely slow for me (on iPhone 5), as in "it's really annoying every time I use this app but I've moved away from native Mail and inertia is a hell of a thing." Other people I've talked to have had similar experiences. I'm excited to try Mailbox.

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meerita 396 days ago | link

No unified inbox, etc.

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larrywright 397 days ago | link

I like it, but its treatment of multiple mail accounts is crappy compared to sparrow (no unified inbox).

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hnriot 396 days ago | link

you can't be serious, it's the beginnings of something good, but it has all kinds of problems, it fails to load email often (reporting "something has gone wrong.."), it routinely doesn't clear the red read indicator, it's laggy and sluggish. I am sure Google will make it kickass in the fullness of time, but for now, that's not what gmail/iOS is.

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bmle 395 days ago | link

Unread indicator is always wrong, especially when you use multiple devices. Seems very I characteristic of google. It's been that way since they released the app.

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encoderer 397 days ago | link

Agreed. I dumped the native mail client.

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lotso 397 days ago | link

The latest Gmail app is pretty nice.

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kmfrk 397 days ago | link

Sparrow mentions should come with a trigger warning.

Money straight out the window. Ungh.

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notatoad 397 days ago | link

I'm still using Sparrow on my mac. It works great.

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yesimahuman 396 days ago | link

What was it, like $10? It still works to this day. Not a bad deal in my book even if they never update it again. It generally "just works."

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jamiequint 397 days ago | link

Did you not RTFA?

> " To be clear, Mailbox is not going away. The product needs to grow fast, and we believe that joining Dropbox is the best way to make that happen. Plus, imagine what cool things you could do if your Mailbox was connected to your Dropbox…"

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teej 397 days ago | link

To be frank, it's really hard to believe that. They're being acquired, it isn't up to them anymore what happens to Mailbox. They signed the keys away to Drew Houston and the management team at Dropbox. Mailbox dies the moment Drew decides to kill it.

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dhouston 397 days ago | link

it's not going anywhere :)

(actually, come work on it: https://www.dropbox.com/jobs :))

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pifflesnort 397 days ago | link

This is what is said LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE TIME a company is acquired -- right along with "nothing is changing" and we'll "continue to operate with the vision that made us attractive to $acquirer in the first place"

Without a more clear rationale for why things won't change, it's pretty reasonable to assume that the product is at risk no matter what you say. The fact is, almost regardless of your intentions, your organization is going to put its thumbprint on the product.

What that means is unclear to external customers, and is also often unclear internally. If you do know what your plans are for it internally, you're still probably not going to say (though I'd love to be wrong).

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rapind 396 days ago | link

Are you sure you're being LITERAL? I certainly remember some google acquisitions where it was stated straight up that the product would be discontinued in the initial press release.

http://xkcd.com/725/

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lifeisstillgood 396 days ago | link

- I'm quite upset about my favourite company being acquired and the risk of losing my app.

- hey look, Drew Houston disguised as Woody Allen

- what? Really? Or figuratively ?

- Both, but I will literally explode if another negative comment gets upvoted

... [Hamlet music plays as man lights cigar (UK only)]

Ahhhhh,HN.

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pifflesnort 396 days ago | link

I would like to introduce you to my friend, rhetorical hyperbole: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbole

It's not actually the case that every single acquisition in the world involves public platitudes about the continuance of management, the product, culture, office location, or lunch room perks.

Just a literally a metric ton of them.

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anonymous 396 days ago | link

Here's my chief gripe with using hyperbole and "literally" - If the word "literally" can be used non-literally, in a hyperbole or a metaphor, then it stops serving its purpose of marking a sentence as being literal. Then, when a sentence permits metaphoric and literal interpretations and you stick "literally" in it, nothing changes - it can still be either metaphoric or literal. The only solution I see is using "really literally" to mean that your sentence isn't metaphoric. Until people start using "really literally" in a metaphoric way. I virtually really literally actually in fact don't want to see that happen.

P.S. Use "practically" instead.

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zzzmarcus 396 days ago | link

Merriam Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary already accept the use of "literally" to mean "virtually" in informal contexts. It's a losing battle.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literally

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/literally

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ndr 396 days ago | link

I thought I would never have a chance to do this, but ironically:

http://xkcd.com/1108/

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edw519 397 days ago | link

Slight aside...

Every time someone here responds when their name is mentioned, I think of this scene from "Annie Hall":

Alvy Singer: [the man behind him in line is talking loudly] What I wouldn't give for a large sock with horse manure in it!

Alvy Singer: [to audience] Whaddya do when you get stuck in a movie line with a guy like this behind you?

Man in Theatre Line: Wait a minute, why can't I give my opinion? It's a free country!

Alvy Singer: He can give it... do you have to give it so loud? I mean, aren't you ashamed to pontificate like that? And the funny part of it is, Marshall McLuhan, you don't know anything about Marshall McLuhan!

Man in Theatre Line: Oh, really? Well, it just so happens I teach a class at Columbia called "TV, Media and Culture." So I think my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity!

Alvy Singer: Oh, do ya? Well, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here, so, so, yeah, just let me...

[pulls McLuhan out from behind a nearby poster]

Alvy Singer: come over here for a second... tell him!

Marshall McLuhan: I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing!

Alvy Singer: Boy, if life were only like this!

(Sometimes it is here at Hacker News.)

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recuter 397 days ago | link

Might as well share a link to the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpIYz8tfGjY?t=1m44s

By the way, I'm Woody Allen.

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kanzure 396 days ago | link

> watch?v=OpIYz8tfGjY?t=1m44s

Hmm, I don't think that feature works like that. Try watch?v=OpIYz8tfGjY#t=1m44s

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recuter 396 days ago | link

Right you are. Weird, '?t=' is straight from the share tab on the YouTube page.

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bithive123 396 days ago | link

You can use # or & but not ? because that denotes the start of the query string.

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recuter 396 days ago | link

I'm aware, I copy pasted the link from YouTube without looking at it. Probably a bug.

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dorkitude 397 days ago | link

Now if you were to acquire 49% of Mailbox, I might believe that. But you must understand our doubts -- it feels like every single time a giant company acquires a useful little startup, the users eventually (and often sooner than later) get burned by it.

I'm open to your Mailbox acquisition being the exception to this trend, but I hope you understand my healthy skepticism.

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encoderer 397 days ago | link

Only in the startup world is Dropbox considered a "giant company."

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cududa 397 days ago | link

Any company with hundreds of employees doing hundreds of millions in revenue is a "giant company".

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CapitalistCartr 397 days ago | link

As he said, "On(ly) in the startup world . . . " In the rest of the business world, that would be a decent mid-size company.

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gwright 396 days ago | link

According to http://www.census.gov/econ/smallbus.html, less than 1% of all businesses have more than 100 employees.

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biot 396 days ago | link

Despite having 100 employees, I wouldn't consider a chain of car washes with 20 locations and 5 people at each location to be a giant company.

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encoderer 396 days ago | link

That doesn't really strike me as relevant? Many "businesses" are one or two people. Obviously "giant" is subjective but considering the largest companies are a few orders of magnitude bigger, I maintain what I said earlier: Only people who are immersed in the startup world consider Dropbox a "giant" company.

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shin_lao 396 days ago | link

Just to add some objectivity to the debate, in France, between 250 and 4999 employees a company is considered to be an "intermediate size company" (as long as the revenue is below 1.5 G€).

I don't know the American standard, but I'd be surprised if it isn't similar.

Source: http://www.insee.fr/fr/methodes/default.asp?page=definitions...

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will_brown 396 days ago | link

That is cool. I was very surprised to see so many legal positions open and very happy to find one of interest.

I just hope the boss will understand working on my start-up in my off time is important :)

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rglover 396 days ago | link

This is why I love HN. Straight from the boss.

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nrmn 397 days ago | link

Do you guys hire student interns? (Internationally - Canadian here)

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aashaykumar92 397 days ago | link

This is reassuring/relieving.

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adolph 397 days ago | link

Thanks! I've been enjoying Mailbox and am looking forward to seeing where y'all take it.

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white_devil 396 days ago | link

I can't help but wonder how you're planning to make money with a product you plan to give away for free forever.

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ocirion 397 days ago | link

What happens when Dropbox is acquired?

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jamiequint 397 days ago | link

Dropbox is not getting acquired at this point ($5B+ val), they will go public.

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usmanity 397 days ago | link

man, I wish you guys were looking for a front-end developer! :D

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tomschlick 397 days ago | link

I did read the article. However we have heard things like that before so I'm a bit wary that 6 months down the line DB isn't going to reconsider and kill the mailbox platform.

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bonzoesc 397 days ago | link

Sparrow did try some Dropbox integration (and it worked pretty reasonably), so I suspect Dropbox wants to really nail that this time around.

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tlrobinson 397 days ago | link

I am shocked, SHOCKED, to find this as the top comment on Hacker News. /s

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heliodor 396 days ago | link

I haven't tried the app (no iPhone). Can someone explain to me why the Mailbox app is so great? From the intro video, I see a typical email app with a couple of extra gestures thrown in.

Like Sparrow, it seems it's more marketing and hype than a radical upgrade to the email experience.

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swalsh 396 days ago | link

I never even got to try it! I've been waiting in line for a week.

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goronbjorn 397 days ago | link

Beyond all of the complicated integration/feature scenarios people are proposing, what shouldn't be forgotten is the fact that email is the primary way most people send and receive files. Combine that with mobile fast becoming the primary computing device for most people, and you have an extremely sensible acquisition.

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kunle 397 days ago | link

Well said. Pretty easy way for all files you receive to immediately be in your Dropbox, and for Dropbox to either

a. launch an email service that runs off the space in your dropbox, or b. automatically create dropbox folders shared between all recipients of an attachment and automatically set permissions.

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rhizome 397 days ago | link

Step 0: get all of these people to use Dropbox as their email client

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Goopplesoft 396 days ago | link

I', #538,902 on this waiting list so its working.

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hnriot 396 days ago | link

Do we need this with Gmail?

I can already use google's Drive storage for email attachments and attach a reference to the file.

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kevingadd 396 days ago | link

Try sending someone any of the dozen different filetypes gmail has blacklisted sometime. They even peer into your archive files!

Maybe GDrive lets you store those formats, but I've never had GMail offer that as an alternative. It just stops me from sending executables around even though that is an integral part of what I do.

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troymc 397 days ago | link

Indeed, but of course email typically has a limit on the size of the file you can attach (for good reason).

In Outlook.com (was Hotmail), you can send a large file by sending a link to a file in SkyDrive. You don't have to upload the file to SkyDrive first; it's just an extension to the "attach file" feature within Outlook.com.

GMail has a similar integration with GDrive.

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dotmanish 397 days ago | link

Well noted.

If you try attaching any file above 30 MB in GMail, it prompts you to send it "via Google Drive" instead, and automatically uploads it there.

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ianstormtaylor 396 days ago | link

Agreed. Sparrow's upload via Dropbox instead of attachment feature is also really useful, so it seems like a perfect fit.

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gilrain 397 days ago | link

A possible first step towards matching the broad ecosystem of their new chief competitors, Google Drive and Microsoft Skydrive. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them acquire an office app suite next.

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mikecarlucci 397 days ago | link

There are so many options once Dropbox can theoritcally be accessed through an inbox interface...

Mailbox could be a first step to competing with Messages/gChat. Instead of rolling out their own email, Dropbox can be another type of account Mailbox works with to send pictures, videos, files over data rather than texting or emailing. An odd feature to roll out without acquiring a popular product, but making Dropbox the goto rather than the link attached to something else.

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MatthewPhillips 397 days ago | link

Why should Dropbox have a message client (or email client). I fail to see how they are connected. I feel the same about Twitter launching a music service.

There used to be the joke that every software expands until it can read mail. Nowadays I think we need a new saying. Every software company expands until... it has rebuilt every other software product (not as catchy).

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mikecarlucci 396 days ago | link

Not messaging per-se exactly, but making Dropbox an account that could be accessed through Mailbox. The standalone messaging without sending a file as well is just a wacky idea of a different direction Dropbox could decide to take things.

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mr_luc 396 days ago | link

How about:

"Every software company expands until it has implemented half of Emacs."

Sort of a product-centric version of Greenspun's rule.

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ishansharma 397 days ago | link

Are there any viable competitors to Google Docs err Drive and MS Office? Office is the feature powerhouse and Drive is lean and fast service, I haven't seen anything that can be acquired around!

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jmduke 397 days ago | link

I don't find Drive to be particularly lean/fast -- it's been easier for me and my peers to work on content/formatting on Word than email it; Drive's lack of features is certainly not a proxy for being lightweight.

Drive's killer feature, though, is collaboration.

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mkr-hn 396 days ago | link

There's Zoho, but it's big enough to where it probably won't accept an acquisition.

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bluthru 397 days ago | link

I love the promise of the internet. Nimble upstarts competing on a level playing field with huge corporations. A decentralized market without physical agency. More owners and more competition.

Then I read about stuff like this.

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mintplant 397 days ago | link

Well, Dropbox itself is competing "on a level playing field with huge corporations". See: competition from Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Microsoft SkyDrive, and so on. All companies with comparatively huge amounts of resources.

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FuzzyDunlop 397 days ago | link

After that forum post where the user claimed Dropbox had leaked their email to spammers, I have severe reservations about giving them the actual credentials to my email account, whether or not the allegations were correct.

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damoncali 397 days ago | link

Wait. Did we just see a company who still has a waiting list get acquired? Well done.

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aroman 397 days ago | link

Yeah I signed on at about 900k in front of me in the queue... now that company has been acquired and I've STILL got 180k people in front of me.

Good lord.

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sbarre 397 days ago | link

Haha I was thinking the same thing.. I had 700k when I got in line, still have 375k ahead..

Hopefully the acquisition by Dropbox speeds up the line, maybe?

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rscale 396 days ago | link

I had to wait about a week to use it.

I used it once, realized it turns my inbox into a todo app, and uninstalled it.

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sbarre 396 days ago | link

Argh, I hope I'm not waiting in line for the same experience.. :-)

I'm still curious to see if I like it (I am an inbox-zero person), so I'll stick it out.. But yeah, I've been in line for 3 weeks now or so, I think...

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wiredfool 397 days ago | link

That's one way to jump the queue...

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vxNsr 397 days ago | link

yeah, I actually checked to see if they still had a queue, they do, pretty insane.. slighly relevant onion: http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-social-media-startup-la...

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benaiah 397 days ago | link

"This means not only continuing to scale the service, but also including support for more email providers and mobile devices."

Please, please let this mean that they plan on supporting EAS. Migrating to Google Apps for Business in not an option for me, and everyone and his brother is building fancy IMAP-only email clients, while I'm stuck with the default mail client on my iPhone. I love Mailbox's interface, but I barely get a chance to use it, as my primary email address that 99% of my email goes through is on Outlook.com-hosted email.

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X-Istence 397 days ago | link

The biggest problem with Exchange Active Sync is that to implement it you have to pay a licensing fee to Microsoft. For a lot of smaller developers that simply isn't an option, especially for something they are giving away for free or for a very low price.

Also, EAS is proprietary, whereas IMAP is open. Outlook.com should simply add IMAP support.

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mattl 397 days ago | link

Check out Davmail -- http://davmail.sourceforge.net/ -- turns Exchange into standards.

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gislifb 396 days ago | link

Second that, although I never got anything but the mail to work (no contacts, cal, tasks) and since evolution is a piece of crap (at least the version that comes with FC 18) I had to use thunderbird which doesn't have cal. But it's still worth it!

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_pius 397 days ago | link

This is a very clever move by Dropbox.

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antr 397 days ago | link

Indeed.

My outsider view: they are going to build a full-fledged productivity suite. They have the storage, versioning, you can view files/docs and now you have an email client. The "obvious" next move would be getting into the online document editing space. But then, this is me just speculating from the sidelines.

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robotmay 397 days ago | link

I've actually been somewhat hoping Dropbox would venture into email. Their service has been reliable for me for years, and it'd be nice to have a decent Gmail competitor at last.

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lttlrck 397 days ago | link

They have to a lot to prove; Dropbox's patchy security record is now coupled with Mailbox's completely unproven security.

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sandipc 397 days ago | link

Mailbox uses Google's Gmail OAuth...

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PanMan 397 days ago | link

why? do you see huge overlap between file syncing/storage and mobile email?

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_pius 397 days ago | link

If you look at their foray into photos and the way they talk about their service now, Dropbox is becoming a lifestyle brand focused on your personal data.

Meanwhile, the mobile e-mail client that the Mailbox team built is so cool that it convinced about a million people to let Mailbox store a full copy of their e-mail archive ... in 10 weeks.

That kind of strategic value means it's smart for them to swoop the product and team up RIGHT NOW, even if they had to pay a premium to do it.

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damoncali 397 days ago | link

I don't know about "very clever", but if you look at Dropbox as moving towards an iCloud-like service where its more than just data, it make sense. But it sounds a lot like a talent acquisition that comes with a nice mail app that probably has some similar technical challenges to the things Dropbox already does well. Seems like a good way to kickstart a Dropbox email platform.

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pazimzadeh 397 days ago | link

I think that Dropbox wants to be the company on the internet where your stuff "is" and email is probably part of that.

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ishansharma 397 days ago | link

For everyone thinking Mailbox is getting Sparrowfied, there's good news:

To be clear, Mailbox is not going away. The product needs to grow fast, and we believe that joining Dropbox is the best way to make that happen. Plus, imagine what cool things you could do if your Mailbox was connected to your Dropbox.

I'm so glad that Mailbox is going to stay alive. It has been just one month since I removed Sparrow and started using Mailbox mostly.

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dopamean 397 days ago | link

Was not the same thing said about Sparrow?

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Kudos 397 days ago | link

No, Google said Sparrow would remain available but not be updated.

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ubercow13 397 days ago | link

No it wasn't.

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dguido 397 days ago | link

I feel like any communications app, especially e-mail related, that's trying to label itself as "modern" needs to include some support for crypto as a requirement. I hope the Dropbox people push for things like that from Mailbox, given their past security problems.

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jmedwards 397 days ago | link

> Not sure if the acquisition makes strategic sense for Dropbox

I do - Dropbox isn't and doesn't want to be just a dumb, syncable file store. First your photos, now your email.

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admiralpumpkin 397 days ago | link

I'm glad it's not Google, Apple or Microsoft.

Here's to a stronger Dropbox and a long-life for Mailbox!

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