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Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the rsync-is-still-pretty-cheap dept.

Data Storage 275

An anonymous reader writes: Google and Amazon are both aggressively pursuing the cloud storage market, constantly increasing available storage space and constantly dropping prices. On its face, this looks great for the consumer — competition is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, many smaller companies like Box, Dropbox, and Hightail simply aren't able to run their services at a loss like the giants can. Dropbox's Aaron Levie said, "These guys will drive prices to zero. You do not want to wait for Google or Amazon to keep cutting prices on you. 'Free' is not a business model."

The result is that the smaller companies are pivoting to win market share, relying on specific submarkets or stronger feature sets rather than available space or price. "Box is trying to cater to special data storage needs, like digital versions of X-rays for health care companies and other tasks specific to different kinds of customers. Hightail is trying to do something similar for customers like law firms. And Dropbox? It is trying to make sure that its consumer-minded service stays easier to use than what the big guys provide." It's going to be tough for them to hold out, and even tougher for new storage startups to break in. But that might be the only thing keeping us from choosing between the Wal-Mart-A and Wal-Mart-B of online storage.

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I seem to remember... (4, Insightful)

sd4f (1891894) | about 3 months ago | (#47744995)

A while ago some big company offered to buy out dropbox and they declined. Surely it was a sign of the times that the big guns were going to enter the market, and when they get in, they don't muck around. Fair competition isn't something the big companies enjoy doing, as their whole business model tends to revolve around destroying competition then bleeding the market for what it's worth.

I used dropbox for cloud storage, I liked it for collaborative work. Would be a shame to see it get destroyed through aggressive anti-competitive practices.

Re:I seem to remember... (4, Interesting)

geek (5680) | about 3 months ago | (#47745007)

Would be a shame to see it get destroyed through aggressive anti-competitive practices.

Fuck off. Everything you posted IS COMPETITION. Dropbox refuses to compete. They offer 2 tiers and ridiculous prices. If they had offered me a 30GB plan I would have jumped at it but my money is no good to them. Instead I would have to beg for "extra" space and game the system. So FUCK dropbox. They wont offer what I want so I've gone elsewhere. Thats called competition.

Re:I seem to remember... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745063)

Dropbox has always sucked and the only reason people use it is because they are stupid. My Box.com account gives me 50GB WebDAV storage for free for life and OneDrive gives me 27GB free and is integrated into my OS.

Re:I seem to remember... (3, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 3 months ago | (#47745303)

"for free for life"

LOL

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

tehlinux (896034) | about 3 months ago | (#47745399)

Just like the dog island.

Re:I seem to remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745411)

Dang, that's free "forever"

Re:I seem to remember... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745409)

You're a stupid fuck. I'll beat you to within an inch of your worthless life, little weak boy.

Re: I seem to remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745461)

how to play monopoly. First you gain a significant capital advantage, then you beat your competition into the ground with it. If you are nice you make an offer to buy them out before you do so. If they are smart, they take you up on your offer, if not they die a miserable death full of regret.

Who is to blame, Plato?

Re:I seem to remember... (2)

scsirob (246572) | about 3 months ago | (#47745541)

You seem to have missed that they didn't specifies *who's* life.. Yours? Theirs? Their dog?

Re:I seem to remember... (5, Insightful)

Pausanias (681077) | about 3 months ago | (#47745397)

What happened to all the penguins---are they no longer on Slashdot anymore? How about these reasons to like Dropbox over MS, Google, and the others:

- Linux client
- Follows symlinks
- Automatic infinite version history (for a fee)
- LAN syncing for faster speed
- Bandwidth controls
- Automatic full resolution photo uploading from mobile
- Sync that just works

It's not all about the price ya know. Some of us like quality too. I currently have 24GB of free storage through Dropbox which I got through a special promotion. It has always worked flawlessly and never let me down.

Re:I seem to remember... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745417)

Those are all shit reasons. WebDAV works on every single OS out there without needing special software. 50GB is ten times the amount Dropbox gives you.

Box.com is a much more trustworthy company too. Dropbox could just disappear tomorrow, being the fly-by-night dinky outfit that they are. Box.com services actual companies that people have heard of.

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745641)

Dropbox could just disappear tomorrow, being the fly-by-night dinky outfit that they are

What the fuck are you going on about? Dropbox has been around for nearly 6 years; doesn't sound fly-by-night or a dinky outfit to me. It also has good mind-share - my wife for example has a social group which uses Dropbox shares for correspondence.

I got nothing personally against Box.com or the competition but the way you formulated your posts seems to show some vested interest against Dropbox, and you'll use hyperbole to make your point.

DropBox is hopelessly overpriced (5, Insightful)

popo (107611) | about 3 months ago | (#47745191)

It's one thing to blame Amazon and Google for a price war. But DropBox's pricing scheme was always overpriced. (And the same goes for Evernote -- even though theirs is a slightly different offering). What should cost a couple bucks a month is priced multiples higher.

Besides, DropBox has entertained MULTIPLE exit opportunities and rejected them all.

If they disappear now, they will have only themselves to blame for not choosing any one of the multiple exits that were on the table.

The landscape changed rapidly around the early leaders. And yet, those leaders did not change their models rapidly to match the changing landscape. Knowing when to quit, and how best to exit are essential parts of management. While we may applaud unbounded grit and unshakeable tenacity -- those qualities in a CEO are more frequently disastrous than beneficial.

Re:DropBox is hopelessly overpriced (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 3 months ago | (#47745333)

Dropbox is for storing small quantities of apples that you want to share with friends without having to attach them to a UPS shipment and spend bucks. Evernote allows you to save an inventory list of your oranges, attach article clips describing your oranges and attach a few pictures of them.

BTSync (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745429)

Avoid them all and get free dropbox capability albeit synced only. No cloud - Bit torrent Sync, and Syncthing.

Re:BTSync (4, Interesting)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47745449)

i was super jazzed about bittorrent sync because I learned about it around the time Dropbox bent over for NSA and welcomed Condi on board. I don't support companies like that. but my work started blocking bittorrent ports and I'm afraid I'll hit some automated logging system becuase I'm running on a bittorrent client on my computer.

so I'm still looking for a good alternative that's not dropbox. I'm trying out sync.com, it's based in CA so it's immune from normal stupid warrants. but I might go to spideroak and get the full encryption. if it's good enough for snowden it's good enough for me.

Re:I seem to remember... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47745237)

There is at least an argument to be made if one looks at how much...encouragement...the platform vendors, especially on the mobile side, provide to use their own blessed and proprietary 'cloud' service; depending on how closely controlled the OS is the advantage of being the platform-blessed option can be fairly substantial.

However, TFS seems to be worked up about the fact that the price/GB of deeply undistinguished storage has cratered over time. Yes, yes it has. Advances in disk density and datacenter operations have sharply reduced the absolute cost, and unless your service offers something really cool, or an airtight SLA, or some other nice feature, why wouldn't your margins reflect the fact that you provide a commodity?

Re:I seem to remember... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745383)

Umm, giving away stuff at a loss while you support the losses with another part of your business is very much anti-competitive.

Re:I seem to remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745427)

who says amazon and google are doing this at a loss? only the author who hasn't provided any data to back that up. perhaps they just have lower costs because they are, ya know, operating at 100x the scale and that much more efficient!?

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47745457)

when they're giving something away at zero, presumably that's a at a loss. but I'm not a MBA, so who's to say?

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 3 months ago | (#47745595)

when they're giving something away at zero, presumably that's a at a loss. but I'm not a MBA, so who's to say?

Who's to say??

Why, that would obviously be Billy Preston, of course!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

"Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'. Ya gotta have somethin', if ya wanna be with me!"

Strat

Re:I seem to remember... (5, Insightful)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 3 months ago | (#47745609)

No, it's not. This goes by many names, e.g. the freebie model, the razor and blade model, etc. It is actually infinitely sustainable. It's also very much not anti-competitive.

Google (and I'm wagering Microsoft and Amazon are similar) makes their money on advertising. They get that by attracting more users. They get and keep these users by building a complete ecosystem, and make their products work more efficiently with one another. Google's current cash cows (AFAIK) are search, email, and android. By making these products work more seamless with one another, they complement one another.

In the case of storage: If Google offers a ton of storage, that might be something that attracts them to their Office suite (which they also make money on, just not as much as the other three.)

Why would a user, for example, stick with Google Docs if it offered basically no storage (or the storage was expensive) when Office 365 offers 15GB (or whatever the amount is) for free? Amazon I imagine wants to attract people to its service so that they might buy AWS, EC2, or shop at Amazon. Either way, it works out in the end where you get stuff for cheap.

Also note that ALL of these companies are in the storage business for their own internal purposes. It likewise makes sense that they would lease out their own internal service to external customers at a cheap rate to help offset a cost that they ALREADY have to bear anyways.

And finally, I wish the hippies would make up their damn mind: They complain about how evil corporations are when something is too expensive, and then they make the same complaint when it is too inexpensive.

Re:I seem to remember... (2)

sd4f (1891894) | about 3 months ago | (#47745645)

No, operating something at a loss so that it kills the competition is anti-competitive. If a company finds a different way to make money from it, that's one thing, but subsidising losses through other completely separate profitable parts of a business is purely there to destroy competition through attrition rather than actually having a better product able to sustain itself on its own merits.

Mind you, I have taken the comments from Dropbox person at face value. I do agree that others are doing a better job, but my main point, as others have stated, it was so obvious that blind Freddy could see it, and the money was on the table; they made their bed, they now have to sleep in it.

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745023)

through aggressive anti-competitive practices.

Agressive yes, anti-competitive NO, people want free stuff, they offer it, but their problem is with their paid plan, nothing reasonable, I backup my whole server (60GB) to amazon for about a third the dropbox price...

Re:I seem to remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745259)

Using free service to drive the competition out of business is illegal in some cases. People like free, but if it's below cost to harm competitors that would be lllegal.

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47745521)

Using free service to drive the competition out of business is illegal in some cases. People like free, but if it's below cost to harm competitors that would be lllegal.

But it isn't free, they don't charge you, they charge advertisers and they make money by scanning your stuff then advertising to you. The fact that most people prefer that model to an upfront cost model doesn't make it illegal.

Re:I seem to remember... (3, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47745087)

aggressive anti-competitive practices.

Cut the crap. There is nothing "anti-competive" about lower prices or free services. There are very few barriers to entry in this market, so if they later try to raise prices or cut services, someone else will step in and take their customers.

Re:I seem to remember... (4, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about 3 months ago | (#47745143)

There is nothing "anti-competive" about lower prices or free services.

Using profits from one sector to support selling at a loss in another sector in order to drive competition out of business is ACTUALLY THE DEFINITION OF ANTI-COMPETITIVE.

Re:I seem to remember... (3, Informative)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47745175)

Using profits from one sector to support selling at a loss in another sector in order to drive competition out of business is ACTUALLY THE DEFINITION OF ANTI-COMPETITIVE.

How are you separating gmail and drive profits? They are both just methods of accessing the same block of storage. Should they be making you pay more if you want to access that same storage in a different manner?

Re:I seem to remember... (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47745229)

Using profits from one sector to support selling at a loss in another sector in order to drive competition out of business is ACTUALLY THE DEFINITION OF ANTI-COMPETITIVE.

This is only true if they later use that market dominance to hurt consumers. Anti-trust law does not exist to protect competitors, it exists to protect the public interest in a competitive market. If they offer on-line storage for free permanently, that is not detrimental to the public. Plenty of companies offer free services to attract customers, while other companies may charge for the same services. That is not illegal.

Re:I seem to remember... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745419)

Yes, but what happens when all the competitors have been run out of business and suddenly the company does start abusing its market share? You can't just put those businesses back in business because things changed.

Re:I seem to remember... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745473)

This is incorrect. The only reason it seems this way is because it takes so long to gather evidence, and the ensuing court cases take so long to eventuate.

Anti-competive practice may be as simple as lowering your price below cost (using any type of funding) for the purpose of driving out competition. Once that competition is gone, you can then raise your prices back to normal (or higher), and have a larger slice of the pie.

The above act itself is subject to anti-trust laws, and not just the fact that prices may have been raised to a higher value after the fact.

Take a look at the Microsoft anti-trust suits. They were not purely about the consumer, as Microsoft was all about expanding market share to boost profit, rather than increasing prices. It was about leveraging one market segment to gain market share in another at the expense of the competition.

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745267)

No. It is one element of Anti-competitive practices and is referred to as "Dumping" but given the advertising revenue they make from that storage space I am not entirely sure you can call this "Dumping". If I were concerned about "Dumping" from Google I would be more concerned about their free Google Apps rather than Google Drive. Or perhaps using their advertising network business to support developing Android and then dumping that to OEMs.

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

aviators99 (895782) | about 3 months ago | (#47745403)

"Dumping" as an economic term refers to protectionist rules that disallow foreign companies to "dump" products into the US. It wouldn't apply here because Google is a US company.

Re:I seem to remember... (4, Insightful)

Rick in China (2934527) | about 3 months ago | (#47745187)

What do you consider fair competition, bigger players keeping prices high (like Dropbox, way overpriced limited offerings.) so they DON'T capture more market share? Is that considered fair competition? It sounds more like no competition, more like price-fixing agreements between similar service offerings, no?

When companies compete, prices often drop - in this case drop significantly.. a company is willing to operate at a loss in order to own more of the market share and other companies simply can't compete, is that unfair? Or simply winning the competition? If you manufacture something in the US for $5 and sell it for $10, and I manufacture the same in China for $1 and sell it for $5, you may complain that you can't compete because to match my price you'd have to operate at a loss....well, sorry to say, but sad day for you. Sad day for dropbox. Improve the offerings and make the prices more reasonable or suffer the consequences that most every company has to deal with in their given industry.

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47745373)

Would be a shame to see it get destroyed through aggressive anti-competitive practices.

Google Drive makes money not just with the subscription price but with advertising revenue, does DropBox do the same thing? You can hardly say it is anti-competitive just because Google monetizes the same service in a different way.

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 3 months ago | (#47745489)

In that case ISPs should offer the far cheapest versions of storage to keep traffic on their network but they always get greedy. Of course a smart storage vendor could just run around from ISP to ISP acting as the middle man and organising those ISP to provide storage and reduced traffic costs with the storage vendor managing mirroring etc to minimise bandwidth costs.

Neither Google or Amazon want customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745005)

They want corporate clients. As long as Dropbox keeps working for the average joe they're not going anywhere.

Caught between two marketing guy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745017)

A few year ago, I got an HTC storage bonus, when it expired I checked with dropbox what plan I could get, the only plan that was available was a 100GB at $10 + per month, why can't they offer a $2.50 per month 25 gig, if they had they would have a customer... I didn't study as much as their marketing guru but I can tell you that they will have hard time to get me to this pricing page again in the same mood as I was at that point...

There's plenty of option available and with object storage becoming the norm they will have hard time bringing back customer they ignore with their greedy plan...

Dropbox use AWS (5, Interesting)

a.koepke (688359) | about 3 months ago | (#47745025)

Amazon have never chased the consumer business, they don't want that. Their focus is fixed on supplying IT services which companies can then build their solutions on. Dropbox is powered by AWS, they are the wholesale provider.

Amazon reducing their prices should only be a good thing for them as that will reduce the operating costs of Dropbox.

Re:Dropbox use AWS (4, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | about 3 months ago | (#47745115)

I was going to post that too. But while googling to make sure Dropbox still used Amazon S3, I came across this article [thestreet.com] . Apparently the problem for Dropbox is the price volatility. Amazon can lower or raise its prices on a whim because they don't have much competition. Dropbox doesn't have that luxury.

Re:Dropbox use AWS (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745287)

Unless you're buying spot instances of EC2, there's no price volatility in AWS. S3/Glacier prices dont fluctuate.

Re:Dropbox use AWS (1)

XaXXon (202882) | about 3 months ago | (#47745557)

while they could, amazon has never raised prices on AWS.

Re:Dropbox use AWS (2)

SJ (13711) | about 3 months ago | (#47745129)

DropBox is an over-the-top provider. Yes, they use AWS. But they are competing with Google Drive and MS OneDrive, both of whom are pushing the price down hard, and willing to lose money.

DropBox still has to pay AWS.

That said, perhaps DropBox could sell a self-hosted version of their software and bring over their ease-of-use.

Re:Dropbox use AWS (2)

Amouth (879122) | about 3 months ago | (#47745281)

That said, perhaps DropBox could sell a self-hosted version of their software and bring over their ease-of-use.

If they ever do that they will make a lot more headway in the enterprise. The ease of use is excellent from the end-user perspective. But the file retainment is a nightmare for IT organizations, and many block it because they have zero real control over the documents or ability to backup/preserve them with out massive workarounds.

Re:Dropbox use AWS (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 3 months ago | (#47745423)

I use OwnCloud for that sort of thing. It's a little slower, but it's a hell of a lot more secure than Dropbox and no silly limits on storage, other than what size hard drives my company can afford :)

Re:Dropbox use AWS (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47745293)

Even if MS and Google aren't willing to lose money on storage(they certainly are in the short term; but as a long game that strategy will not sell well), it isn't terribly obvious why repackaging AWS should be a particularly sustainable niche.

There is room(and dropbox exploited it) for the outfit that makes using AWS trivial and bodges together clients for OSes that allow fairly low level integration and 'app' integration for those that don't; but that's a goal where reaching 'adequate' is not a terribly high barrier to entry and where it isn't obvious what novel features one can add to continue justifying one's profit.

Once there are multiple players who have adequate client integration available what remains but to sell on price?

Re:Dropbox use AWS (4, Interesting)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 3 months ago | (#47745491)

That said, perhaps DropBox could sell a self-hosted version of their software and bring over their ease-of-use.

That's [owncloud.org] already [pyd.io] been [seafile.com] done [tonido.com] .

The challenge DropBox faces with a self-hosted iteration of its software is that it stops being 'simple'. Existing Dropbox clients would have to be completely rewritten to go from asking "username and password, please" to "username, password, server address, and port, please". Even if we hand-wave away that problem by assuming that users can either correctly type a server name and port number, or that Dropbox will still have 'accounts' but essentially become a DynDNS clone and simply handle network traversal and matching users to their data repositories, we then have to deal with the Dropbox Server software. There may be a market for Dropbox to sell drives like these [wdc.com] , but I don't see Western Digital wanting to partner with Dropbox to provide redundant functionality to their existing apps, and I don't see consumers paying more for a Dropbox branded drive if they're already in the "self-contained NAS" market - a handful might, but now Dropbox, for all intents and purposes, finds itself with all the challenges of being an external hard drive vendor...with the added bonus of directly competing with the vendors from whom they're sourcing their parts.

The obvious alternative to this would be for them to sell their software and let it run on a LAMP/WAMP stack, on whatever hardware is on hand, and market it to the enthusiast/enterprise market, like UnRAID or Nexenta. That might be a short term win, especially if they do some fancy stuff with LDAP/Active Directory integration. Conversely, I see it potentially being a support nightmare based on how it deals with storage. Will it install on an Ubuntu desktop containing a hodgepodge of hard disks? Would it be more like FreeNAS where it makes its own software RAID, but requires hardware to be dedicated (or its own VM)? Even at that, how do they bill for the software? One-time use seems like it wouldn't be a good long-term plan, but I don't see too many users being okay with Dropbox charging them an annual fee to use their own hard drives. CALs could be a useful method (arguably the most workable one), but they'd have a hard time managing their consumer-friendly image on one hand with Oracle-style licensing on the other.

Levie is right; 'free' isn't a business model. Dropbox's 2GB number is only sustainable because they're betting that a certain number of those users will go for a paid tier. Either every Dropbox customer will pay, or they start advertising, or they data mine. To my knowledge, those are the three business models that have sustained themselves on the internet. 'Everyone Pays' may be a viable model if Dropbox can do things like sell gift cards for their service (for users unable/unwilling to fork over their Mastercard) and come up with the right formula of how much customers are really willing to pay for storage+ubiquity+simplicity. Although Levie must certainly be feeling the pinch from Microsoft's 1TB of OneDrive for $60/year, the one client we attempted to migrate to that service went back to dropbox VERY quickly because the desktop client was utter crap; I'm left to believe that Dropbox's simplicity still has an edge just yet. Conversely, I don't think that $50/month for 500GB is worthwhile, either - That's only slightly less than it'd cost to buy a 500GB hard disk outright from Newegg every month.

Dropbox is still a well-recognized brand that I'm certain many consumers are still willing to pay a premium for, and Microsoft and Google are competing not only with more storage for less money, but with integration as well - editing a spreadsheet in Sheets or Excel and seamless saving of attachments is not the kind of thing that Dropbox can effectively compete with. Dropbox's best bet right now, in my half-asleep opinion, is to see how much value-add they CAN provide to their existing tiers. I can't quite fathom what that is (a trivial example off the top of my head would be an IM client add-on), but one thing is for sure: they can't easily compete against companies who sell their own gigabytes by selling someone else's gigabytes.

Re:Dropbox use AWS (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47745527)

they are competing with Google Drive and MS OneDrive, both of whom are pushing the price down hard, and willing to lose money.

Really? I haven't seen any evidence that they are losing money, they may offer a lower price but that doesn't mean they are losing money.

AntiTrust (0)

mbone (558574) | about 3 months ago | (#47745031)

Anyone who doesn't think we need stronger antitrust enforcement is crazy.

Re:AntiTrust (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47745109)

Anyone who doesn't think we need stronger antitrust enforcement is crazy.

We need better antitrust enforcement in many areas. But on-line storage isn't one of them.

Re:AntiTrust (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 3 months ago | (#47745113)

What's antitrust about this?

Re:AntiTrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745155)

You sound like atlas shrugged

Re:AntiTrust (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745335)

Anyone who thinks we need stronger government meddling is crazy.

'Free' is not a business model. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745039)

That's why I pay BIG BUCKS to read Slashdot, right?

That's why UNLIMITED FREE WEBMAIL DOESN'T EVEN EXIST.

This just in: Aaron Levie is a fucking dumbfuck nigger boxfucker.

Sneaky (4, Informative)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 3 months ago | (#47745041)

A drive-by Dropbox installation turned me off.

Box is horrible (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745043)

"Here's a ton of free space that's really hard to use!"

Fighting for all of our stuff (2)

Trogre (513942) | about 3 months ago | (#47745045)

It's nice that all these huge companies are so interested in control of everyone's data.

I think I'll stick with my OwnCloud server for syncing files across devices for the time being, thanks.

Re:Fighting for all of our stuff (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47745599)

It's nice that all these huge companies are so interested in control of everyone's data.

Just encrypt your files before you put them in your shared folder. Or just set the folder to automatically encrypt. There are dozens of "how to" webpages that explain how to do this with DropBox and TrueCrypt, and it isn't hard to do it with other services.

And Microsoft. And Apple. And Adobe. And... (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 3 months ago | (#47745053)

Having worked in this "file sharing" industry, this result is no surprise to me. The platformers, especially those with heavy investments in content suites (Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop/PDF, Google Docs, etc.) are tired of letting the middlemen make money off of cloud storage and collaboration. Furthermore, they understand the danger of allowing their customers to congregate around "platform independent" technologies too long. Worse, companies with just a dozen or two people can crank out everything Box, etc. can do in less than a year and sell it as either an on-premise or cloud solution. (There are dozens of clones now.) The result is that companies like DropBox aren't worth anything for their technology anymore - instead, it's a race to see if they can "run out the clock" and sell their customer base to one of the platformers before they dwindle down to nothing.

Just because you can't do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745075)

doesn't mean someone else can't.

Just because amazon and google can undercut you doesn't mean they're doing it at a loss.

Yeah, as music artists know, not so fun is it? (4, Insightful)

s1d3track3D (1504503) | about 3 months ago | (#47745079)

'Free' is not a business model." - Aaron Levie (Dropbox)
Yes, something music artists know all to well...
It's a bummer when your on the wrong side of supply and demand aint it?!

Re:Yeah, as music artists know, not so fun is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745135)

"I enjoy playing music, I don't care who it's for."
Real musicians don't play for the money. Fake musicians sing about money because it's all they care about.

Re:Yeah, as music artists know, not so fun is it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745349)

Which is nice if you don't need a roof over your head, food to eat and clothes to wear. Or if you don't mind the fact that you'll never be as good as you could be.

It takes a ton of time and practice to get to a professional level and realistically it's not likely to happen if you're also having to work a 40 hour a week job in a field that pays well. It's just not going to happen.

So, you can talk about how real artists don't make money, but realistically, if they don't have a patron or some means of support you get a really short career that ends when they realize that they're going to be evicted.

Re:Yeah, as music artists know, not so fun is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745479)

It takes a ton of time and practice to get to a professional level

So how exactly do you explain all those supposedly professional musicians who produce the latest low-quality odes to "gettin paid and hangin wit my niggas"? They were too busy selling out to bother practicing? Or maybe they just don't give a shit about being musicians, because the music industry doesn't pay for quality?

Re: Yeah, as music artists know, not so fun is it? (5, Insightful)

corychristison (951993) | about 3 months ago | (#47745531)

I am not artistic in any way. So I may be biased here.

The problem is expecting to get paid every time someone wants to hear the recording you made 3 months ago (or three years ago, or thirty years ago). I understand it is a means to produce more content, but rarely actually happens.

The waitress at the last restaraunt you ate at has to keep doing the same thing (with minor adjustments) over and over again to keep making a wage. I highly doubt she has delusions of serving one table and making a living for the rest of her "career".

I have a brother who enjoys making music. He subs in his friends bands from time to time because he enjoys playing. During the day he works a normal job, has no ambitions or delusions of "making it" and playing an instrument as a career.

I'll be blunt here: if your music really is as fantastic as you think, you'd already be sleeping on a bed made of money. Maybe you should go and reflect on that.

Re:Yeah, as music artists know, not so fun is it? (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 3 months ago | (#47745319)

'Free' is not a business model." - Aaron Levie (Dropbox)
Yes, something music artists know all to well...

Even the biggest artists make most of their money from touring, merchandising, and product endorsements,
In Asia, where large scale commercial piracy is a fact of life, music artists only make money from non-album sales.

Re:Yeah, as music artists know, not so fun is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745347)

Asia is doing it right. Pay performers to perform, not record.

Re:Yeah, as music artists know, not so fun is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745341)

Oh. Oh. I've got this one.

Maybe Dropbox should go on tour and start doing concert venues? :D

Re:Yeah, as music artists know, not so fun is it? (0)

westlake (615356) | about 3 months ago | (#47745493)

Yes, something music artists know all to well...
It's a bummer when your on the wrong side of supply and demand aint it?!

If the demand for music isn't there, why is the geek spending his time cruising Pirate Bay?

Contributing nothing in exchange for content others have been willing to pay for --- which is the only reason it continues to be produced.

How the world turns (0)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47745103)

One day Slashdot is fellating Amazon and Google for their Cloudiness, the next they're accused of corporate evil for being Walmart-A or Walmart-B.

The only thing I see is a consistent bias towards and demand for free crap. Are there any adults on Slashdot anymore?

Re:How the world turns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745161)

The only thing I see is a consistent bias towards and demand for free crap.

Linux is free crap, ain't it? We love to cunnilinguate Linux round here.

Too expensive (2)

cdwiegand (2267) | about 3 months ago | (#47745153)

My wife and I just left Dropbox, because paying $20/month for 200 GB of storage (which she just exceeded with our photos from before kids as well as our kids) is crazier than paying $10 for 1 TB of storage. The only feature I miss is the ability to auto-backup our photos to our online storage - Google does some kind of backup to Google+, but that's worthless to me. Dropbox would auto-upload my pictures to a folder, which I really liked. Oh, and IFTTT doesn't seem to work well for us for backing up the photos, seems to take forever and requires tweaking, Dropbox's system Just Worked.

I understand Dropbox is coming out with some email client, ok, yay, Yet Another Email Client. That is so old and tired. Do something innovative. Now, all this said, if there was an EASY way for me to have Dropbox-like functionality against an S3 endpoint where *I*/AWS runs the box, I'd be game. The options out there suck for users and honestly aren't great for power users either.

Re: Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745243)

Bt sync will eat a bunch of Dropbox's business. Check them out.

Re:Too expensive (2)

bakes (87194) | about 3 months ago | (#47745551)

Now, all this said, if there was an EASY way for me to have Dropbox-like functionality against an S3 endpoint where *I*/AWS runs the box, I'd be game

Have a look at owncloud. [owncloud.com]

Dropbox sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745157)

Last year I tried to use dropbox to transfer one of my college textbooks (PDF) from my computer to my iPad for portability. The file was immediately locked on copyright grounds by dropbox. Even though I owned the book, I was unable to transfer it due to Dropbox's proactive copyright scanning.

That was the last time I used their service. Fuck Dropbox.

oh and for the record - I'm not a coward, I just don't have or want a slashdot account

Re:Dropbox sucks (1)

onproton (3434437) | about 3 months ago | (#47745201)

Came here to comment about dropbox + condoleezza rice being the worst possible combination imaginable, and looks like your comment wraps that up pretty nicely.

Re:Dropbox sucks (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#47745269)

This is why i run my own 'cloud' service using Synology NAS boxes. I cant stand how much file manipulation all the big consumer cloud vendors do. I want my cloud files to feel EXACTLY like a folder in a share over a slow link. Stop scanning, interpolating, deduplicating etc, jsut store my files.

Hardware (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 3 months ago | (#47745177)

Why is this posted under "Hardware"?

DropBox is terrible (5, Interesting)

goruka (1721094) | about 3 months ago | (#47745183)

Unlike Google which uses ownership to determine size used, you can run out of space in DropBox by someone sharing you a large folder. DropBox also make is impossible from the web interface to see the sizes or usage of files to make room or clean up. I ended up paying Google for 100gb because their service is simply better.

um what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745217)

"Dropbox's Aaron Levie said" ... Dropbox != Box.net

Re:um what? (-1, Flamebait)

lucm (889690) | about 3 months ago | (#47745375)

Whenever I hear about Box, I hear about Aaron Levie. I even got spam the other day telling me that "Aaron Levie Wants You To Register For BoxWorks".

Name-dropping used to involve famous people. Now startups name-drop their CEO all the time and this sucks.

Cloud storage in US? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745249)

Not putting up my files where Obama can take a peek.

Re:Cloud storage in US? LOL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745361)

Why? What's in those files that you don't want to share, comrade?

Wacky Alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745277)

... or you could, you know, buy two hard drives. (Make one of them your backup.)

No linux client from google (4, Insightful)

Bram Stolk (24781) | about 3 months ago | (#47745295)

It is dropbox for me:
There is no linux client for Google Drive.
I think years ago it was supposed to be 'soon'.

Dropbox - cry me a river (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745301)

I cannot believe the bitching and complaining from Dropbox. They have never had competitive prices or services. I pay TWO dollars a month for a whole 100gb for Onedrive. Google Drive is the same cost a month.

Even the free, basic offering from Dropbox is laughable. They may have been innovators in the beginning but they are not anymore. You have to compete or die. Microsoft and google get my money.

How about storage that cannot be read by the NSA? (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | about 3 months ago | (#47745313)

So DropBox, that's a way to differentiate yourself...hint hint...something that we all want...and will never get.

Re:How about storage that cannot be read by the NS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745431)

Kind of like https://Mega.co.nz? Or https://Sync.com ?

Re:How about storage that cannot be read by the NS (1)

David Jao (2759) | about 3 months ago | (#47745615)

Tarsnap [tarsnap.com] offers NSA-proof cloud storage and provides all the source code for all the client programs to back up their claims (in fact the installation is only available in source code form). But it costs way more than the competition.

After Reading This (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745317)

I cancelled my 100GB account and will likely roll my own with OwnCloud or maybe a VPS. I learned a few things reading through this thread.

It IS possible to compete against "free" (2)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | about 3 months ago | (#47745343)

This article actually points it out: When the big players drop the prices to below cost, it is possible to still compete, by offering add-ons specific to certain types of customers, or better customer service, or in some other way differentiating yourselves from the big players. This applies both when the big guys are Amazon and Google, or when they are Walmart and Home Depot.

Self hosted cloud for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745345)

Owncloud and its ilk beat all these guys. Six months now and no regrets. I guess it costs me the electricity of my servers (as I also run an off site backup for it) and its not for the average Joe blow, but whatevs.

Break them up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745367)

Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, Walmart, Media Companies, et al have to be broken up into itty bitty little pieces.

how about by offering to not screw you... (1)

Archfeld (6757) | about 3 months ago | (#47745405)

If they promised not to 'steal' your contents and sell them to someone else or use them to market 'partner' services, or actually have and supply a real secure site. You know at some point Google will alter their ToS to allow them to use anything in their never-ending quest to track everything and everyone that ever touches the web in any manner.

Can't compete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745495)

I have 8 terabytes on 115 and it's free.

Its all about privacy protection and nothing else (3, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about 3 months ago | (#47745539)

Dropbox had a great claim, originally, that your data was secure not even "dropbox" could see it. Well, it turned out that was a lie.

The bigger issue is privacy protection. If I upload non-public information to one of these services, which one can I trust to keep that private? If there is no clear answer, then price is the only differentiator. Who's going to protect your privacy when presented with an NSL? Answer: no one. After that, who cares?

I believe that if a storage company wants to stand out and charge a premium, it needs to hire lawyers, a lot of them, to defend the rights of its customers. When you store your data on your property, you are protected by the 4th amendment, the warrant requirement, and the legal right to a defense, when you store your data in the cloud, you have little, if any, protection, and the service provider has no duty to protect your data from government requests.

Criminals, lawyers, and the general public have the same needs. If you can't protect criminals, you can't protect the general public. Data storage has never been about the bits. It has always been about the meta requirements: security, longevity, recoverability, and yes, cost. The google/amazon threat is about cost, what about the other requirements?

You're not the customer, you're the product (2, Insightful)

taustin (171655) | about 3 months ago | (#47745575)

Free is, indeed, a fine business model when the real purpose of providing cloud storage is to data mine it for targeted advertising, which has always been Google's business model, and is increasingly Amazon's, as well. 95% of Google's revenue is from advertising, and getting you, and me and everyone else, to store all their documents in Google Drive is well worth the cost to increase ad rates. Amazon's business model is a little different, but is getting more and more like Google's lately, with their announcement that they're working on their own ad network to replace Google's.

Everything that both companies have done lately - and that Google has ever done, has been to stuff that profile database as full as possible on everyone human being on the planet.

Flying first class is not a business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47745581)

Never comes up in the discussion of value pricing

Self host (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 3 months ago | (#47745623)

there is no reason we can't self host these services... we like drop box mostly for the software, not the servers. We can provide the servers ourselves.

And why is it that all these companies are moving to cloud based software? Piracy. Which really underscores the need for more open source software because not only do people not want to pay for this stuff, we really can't. Its too much. If you bought a paid version of everything that you typically just get for free... we're talking thousands of dollars a year. We can't afford it.

So we need an open source, self hosted, appified storage solution.

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