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Dropbox gets Mailbox

Ajit Deshpande - - 0 Comments

Last week, cloud-based file storage leader Dropbox announced its acquisition of Mailbox, an iOS email management app created by a 14-person startup named Orchestra. Orchestra was established in early 2011, raised a $5 million round in late 2011, and was acquired by Dropbox for approximately $100 million. Since its launch in early February’13, Mailbox has apparently had 1.3 million reservation requests to download the app, and processes more than 60 million emails per day at this time. The Mailbox app has been touted by some as one of the best email apps for user experience.

This is just such an intriguing acquisition. Is this a $100 million dollar acqui-hire for user experience expertise? Quite plausible, considering that simplicity has been Dropbox’s focus all through. Any chance Dropbox is mistaking early adopter interest in the app for broad-based user demand for an app like this? Also possible – a la Draw Something which Zynga acquired almost a year ago and which spiraled downward afterwards. On the flip side, could this turn out to be an Instagram type deal, which was questioned early on but now is hailed as a masterstroke by Facebook? Absolutely possible as well! Is Dropbox betting that email is here to stay for mobile devices? Not a stretch, at least for working professionals. And beyond these view-points on the standalone value of the acquisition, are there any competitive or product-level synergies that accrue to Dropbox? Quite likely yes to both – the Mailbox acquisition might in fact help Dropbox understand user experience needs in the mobile communication realm while at the same time positioning it better against the likes of Evernote (which for itself has already raised a quarter billion dollars). It will be interesting to see how this acquisition actually pans out for Dropbox.

With lots and lots of data in tow, Dropbox is starting to move into the application layer, which is where the real money probably is. Moving up the stack is Dropbox, so maybe it is time to gear up for such things as Dropbox email and Dropbox docs and so on!

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