Dropbox continues to build its business away from sync-and-share cloud storage with the overnight acquisition of CloudOn, an Israeli startup that offers a “simple and beautiful” mobile document creation and editing tool, to quote Dropbox’s marketing spin.
“We’re thrilled to continue building things that help people work better – and we’re proud and excited to join the Dropbox team to help people be more productive every day,” wrote the CloudOn team in an annunciatory blog post.
The bad news for CloudOn’s nine million existing users is that Dropbox is going to shut down the service in two months and is no longer accepting new signups. The good news for Dropbox is that for its money — exactly how much, it’s not saying — the company gets a considerable new presence in Herzliya, Israel (adding to its footholds in San Francisco, Dublin, Seattle and New York) and a new way to build out its mobile productivity game.
That last part is critical for Dropbox, a company trying to transition from dumb storage to become a crucial part of the home and enterprise workflow with productivity tools that people actually want to use. With Project Harmony and a Microsoft partnership, Dropbox is hoping to slide smoothly into the Microsoft Office ecosystem by way of desktop plugins, Office 365 integrations and — now — better ways to create office documents on the go.
The more people using Dropbox, the better for Dropbox: It relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, hoping that so many people within an organization are using Dropbox themselves that the CIO’s office is given no choice but to bless it. Building better collaboration tools is just part of that plan, and it’s reflected in Dropbox’s acquisition strategy, which has seen it snap up similar mobile startups like Loom and Zulip.
It’s worth noting that the announcement is timed to coincide with tomorrow’s IPO of perennial cloud storage rival Box, which pursues a similar all-content-everywhere focus with more of an enterprise bent.
There just ain’t no drama like Silicon Valley drama.