Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Long Known for Storing and Sharing, Box Aims to Be More About Doing

levie-d11It’s becoming ever less accurate to refer to the cloud company Box as a company focused on enterprise file storage.

Lately people have been adding the phrase “and collaboration” to their description of the company because it speaks a little more to the wider ambitions of what Box aims to do. Today that got a little clearer when the company announced Box Notes, a new lightweight text editing tool that is being added to the Box service.

While it has often been talked about in the same breath as Dropbox, the consumer-focused file storage service in the cloud, IPO-bound Box is starting to look a lot more like Google Docs every day. That’s probably no accident.

Last year, it hired Sam Schillace, the founder of Writely, the Web-based word processor that eventually became the foundation for what we now call Google Docs or Google Apps.

And earlier this year, Box acquired Crocodoc, a document-sharing company that uses HTML to power a sharing service that’s a little like Scribd and DocStoc.

CEO Aaron Levie has been talking a lot these days about how Box wants to be the “content layer” in the cloud. Today, in advance of his keynote address at the company’s BoxWorks conference, he tweeted about new tools versus old tools.

What it all means is that Box has bigger aims than most people initially realized. Storage and sharing isn’t enough. Box’s aim now appears to be on crafting a new set of tools backed by that cloud storage infrastructure. It’s now less about a place to put stuff and more about becoming a place to do things with that stuff. That’s going to make its market opportunity and competitive landscape a lot more interesting.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald