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After several months of building on a new strategy to capture more enterprise customers, Dropbox, the popular cloud-storage and file-sharing service, will later this week announce that it has landed subscription music service Spotify as a corporate customer, sources tell Re/code.
While the size of the deal couldn’t be determined, the announcement is the first in a series of expected customer wins that Dropbox will make in the coming weeks as it declares its intention to be a serious player in the enterprise market. It’s also meant to counter the perception that Box, a smaller rival with a dedicated focus on large enterprise customers, is the stronger player among corporate customers.
The news comes a month after Dropbox launched Project Harmony, an overlay for Microsoft Office that allows multiple people to collaborate on documents in real time and to synchronize them with documents stored in shared folders in the cloud. That product put Dropbox in competition with Google Drive and Microsoft’s Office 365.
On the backs of some 200 million users, Dropbox has burrowed its way deeply into some four million companies. That gives it a distinct strength in numbers over Box, which at its last publicly disclosed count had 25 million end users and 34,000 companies paying for its services.
One challenge: Long viewed as a company with a consumer-facing product that people tend to use at work without authorization from the corporate IT department, Dropbox has in the last year sought to broaden its appeal to corporate customers.
First came a tool to give IT administrators the ability to manage corporate accounts, and then came a feature to allow the separation of work-related files from personal accounts. People with personal Dropbox accounts can easily join companies that operate their own corporate accounts, without fear of losing control of personal files like their family pictures.
The move into corporate accounts also coincides with a wider effort by Dropbox to diversify its offerings. It has stepped up its pace of acquisitions, and has recently been acquiring small startups at a rate of about one or more per month, much of that in an effort to build a family of apps around the Dropbox ecosystem. Recent examples include the photo app Loom, a collaborative document tool called Hackpad, a corporate chat tool called Zulip and a social e-book reader called Readmill.
Though the plan is similar in some respects to that of Box, the differences are notable: Where Dropbox wants to build a family of apps that take advantage of its file-syncing technology, Box wants to be the backend platform on which its corporate customers build their own custom apps.
Dropbox has also been boosting its funding ahead of an expected IPO. Last month it secured $500 million in debt financing on top of a $350 million round of private equity funding that valued Dropbox at $10 billion.
Rival Box filed papers for an IPO in March but has since delayed the timing of its offering.
The Spotify announcement by Dropbox follows the disclosure by Box last week that it had landed industrial giant GE as a corporate customer.
Dropbox founder Drew Houston will be speaking at the Code Conference later this month.