Dropbox has announced it’s discontinuing two of apps/services: the photo-sharing app Carousel and mobile email client Mailbox.
Dropbox has sometimes mixed its messages in terms of the scenarios it wanted to target. It got popular as a consumer-oriented file-sharing and sync service but it also has a version targeting enterprises. Both Carousel and Mailbox were targeted at end consumers.
By discontinuing those two apps now, the intention seems to be to move away from a consumer oriented player to a more focused, enterprise-oriented service.
Enterprise Business Is Tough
But “enterprise" is a tricky market and there’s little differentiation among vendors in terms of functionality. Most cloud-based file sharing and sync services offer similar set of standard features.
In the beginning, these services became quite popular because of their ease of use and the fact that you could quickly get up and running with them without too much of integration work. However, as requirements became more complex, their relatively simplistic feature set became their weak point as it was easy to replicate that functionality.
In fact, most enterprise content and document management vendors now provide this functionality either via acquisitions or in-house development. Even longtime file-sync and share vendor Box has had to evolve into a broader-based service.
To be fair to Dropbox, they have built some enterprise-oriented features to make their product more acceptable to business customers. For example, they are working on an app called Dropbox Paper, which allows you to collaboratively work on documents, similar to Google Docs. They also sell "Dropbox Business," with features such as remote device wiping, along with better security controls.
Question Marks Remain
However, Dropbox still lags in terms of security, and has struggled to offer deployment models other than public cloud based service, or build more sophisticated collaboration and content management features.
Moreover, recent developments have begged an important question: When Dropbox can close down a service (Mailbox) that they acquired for $100M, can your enterprise trust them on their roadmap?
We’ll keep tracking them and keep you informed as we learn more. Meanwhile, if you are a subscriber, you can check out our ECM Research to know more about different vendors’ file-sharing and sync capabilities.