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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.

We see that as kind of our PC moment. If you think about the transition from the mainframe to the PC, how that created new leadership opportunities for Microsoft and Intel and others, we see the same kind of transition from PC to post-PC as creating those kind of leadership gaps and opportunities. We happen to be a company that was born right at the center of this shift. On day one of our company we thought about the mobile implications of having access to your information from anywhere. We were rapidly orienting and organizing our company around that effort. You're going to see a lot of stuff from our platform, from our hiring, from where we're building out our teams that is completely oriented around the mobile enterprise, the post-PC enterprise, and we really want Box to be the hub for content and for information in this new post-PC enterprise.

JG: You have carved out a unique niche in the market right now. What do you expect the competitors to do? This isn't something that the Microsoft's and the other leaders are just going to cede to you.

AL: We've been doing this for eight years so I don't know what you expect. Here's the challenge. There are two types of companies in this space that are really important and interesting to watch. You have the traditional on-premise infrastructure providers, the EMCs, the NetApps of the world, and they have a classic innovator's dilemma challenge, which is in the future world when you buy little to no on-premise infrastructure. That means they have to become more software companies than hardware companies, and that's a complete shift in pricing and economics and the DNA of these companies. That's not a simple transition to go through. They don't really have a lot of the core DNA to make that transition happen, and it shows up on a pretty consistent basis. I think if you ask anybody what end-user application EMC has produced you really wouldn't get any answers, or any good ones. So they have a very deep challenge in the world and the paradigm is shifting around them and their business model is going to have to change pretty radically because of that. If an enterprise doesn't buy EMC or NetApp for on-premise and the cloud providers don't buy EMC or NetApp because we can build it all through commodity infrastructure, then who do you sell to if you're one of those vendors? That's a really disruptive change in the ecosystem. Now there are a lot of things they could do, but none of the changes is going to be simple or without a lot of internal challenge and strategic taxing and consternation.


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