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Box CEO Aaron Levie: The post-PC era and our partnerships will help us win

John Gallant and Matt Rosoff, CITEworld | April 5, 2013
It's no surprise that Box, the content management and collaboration company born in the cloud, has met with so much success among small-to-medium businesses. The service provides SMBs with the kind of enterprise-class content capabilities that they didn't have the money and resources to deploy before.

When you think of all those different dimensions you actually are constantly reducing down the set of companies they can work with. And then you throw in a dimension like they want to build custom applications on top of their cloud service so they have one central data repository, but they can leverage that data for unique applications in their business, whether it's the documentation workflow, whether it's somebody doing repairs out in the field and needing to pull up information. When you look at that entire problem set, it ends up being Box. It ends up occasionally being Microsoft. But there are few other providers that have really been able to produce that kind of scale of an offering. That's what we've been spending eight years doing.

One of the unique things again about our situation is we've spent more time on this problem than any other cloud provider in the world, because we've been doing this since late 2004. We just had to think about the problem and think about the platform more than anyone else, which gives us a pretty significant advantage on a lot of large enterprise companies that are just getting into this or consumer companies that are kind of moving up-market. When you compare us to a company like Microsoft, the challenge with Microsoft is they're not really telling a multiplatform story. They generally are always favoring their platforms and their ecosystems first, which is not a very customer-centric view of the world. It's a very Microsoft centric or inwardly centric view of the world. It's a very diverse landscape out there, which means that enterprises need technology that's going to sit in between all those different platforms. We have a unique business model that is entirely aligned with supporting lots of platforms. We make more money the more people can use our product in their organization. Whereas, if you're Microsoft, you make more money based on how many services that are based on your platform you can sell into an organization. We just happen to be solving a different dimension of problem that is more suited for how enterprises work today.

MR: On the flip side of that, when you go into a big company like Schneider, what's the thing that they push back about the most? Is there any particular area where they say -- wow, you're close, but you don't have X?

AL: I think that for some enterprises it's less that they're not adopting something and more about the time frame or the timeline in which they're adopting this type of technology. Often it will be the case that an enterprise is not able to move their entire business to the cloud or it might not be the thesis to move their entire business to the cloud. But rather they want to move net new workflows or use cases to the cloud first.

 

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