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Dropbox Overhauls Software, Upping Rivalry With Microsoft, Google

Candy Cheng and Dina Bass
Dropbox Overhauls Software, Upping Rivalry With Microsoft, Google

(Bloomberg) -- Dropbox Inc. unveiled the biggest overhaul yet to the way users experience its software as it seeks to push further into the productivity market dominated by Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Dropbox is promoting a new desktop workspace and updates to its web site and mobile app to combine different files, work software and teams of employees. Customers will be able to create, access and share Google documents, spreadsheets and slides and open Microsoft Office files, according to a presentation by Chief Executive Officer Drew Houston at an event Tuesday in San Francisco.

The company also announced deals with other partners including Slack Technologies Inc., Zoom Technologies Inc. and Atlassian Corp. that will help Dropbox expand into popular areas of workplace functions and capture more of employees’ time as they build, share and work with software files.

While the company already has partnerships with Microsoft and Google that allow customers to use their programs, the goal ultimately is to get workers to do more in Dropbox itself. As productivity software increasingly moves to the cloud, businesses including Slack and Atlassian are trying to carve out larger spaces for their products, competing to be chosen as the software that will manage office communications, file sharing and collaboration projects for the next decade. “What we’re seeing is users want choice,’’ Houston said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “They are using all sorts of apps for organization, cloud content, communication, coordination. And what’s different is how they are stitched together, and that’s the role we can play. A lot of what we’re doing is complementary.”

Dropbox users can opt in to the new desktop app, and company software administrators can choose to have their teams included. Other features will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, the company said. 

(Updates with quote from CEO)

To contact the authors of this story: Candy Cheng in San Francisco at ccheng86@bloomberg.netDina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Molly Schuetz at mschuetz9@bloomberg.net

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