Dropbox finds its way into HP, Acer PCs and tablets

The cloud storage company is pursuing partnerships to grow its already massive user base

Dropbox isn't satisfied that its cloud storage and file-sharing service has more than 300 million subscribers, so it's actively seeking partnerships to grow its user base, landing HP and Acer on Tuesday.

It's no surprise that Dropbox isn't resting on its laurels. As the price of cloud storage craters and the market becomes inevitably commoditized, thanks to larger vendors like Microsoft, Apple and Google, which make their money elsewhere, pure-play providers like Dropbox are scrambling to survive, and volume is key.

The two giant hardware vendors will preload the Dropbox client software on their PCs and tablets starting in the first quarter of next year, displaying the application prominently on their desktop screens, according to Tom Hsieh, head of strategic partnerships at Dropbox.

As part of the bundling agreements with HP and Acer, Dropbox will include a special offer for its paid subscription options to owners of the PCs and tablets, although details of the promotional deals aren't yet public, Hsieh said. Financial terms of the agreements won't be disclosed.

Although Dropbox, founded in 2007, has pursued partnerships for years, it has beefed up its efforts in this area in the past year, including recruiting experienced veterans from companies like Google and Facebook. "Partnerships are a huge growth area for Dropbox," he said.

Hsieh himself joined in December, after serving as vice president of strategic partnerships at Spotify, director of partnerships at Zynga and in strategic partner development at Google.

Dropbox has similar deals in place to preload and bundle its software with products from Dell, Avira, Avast, Samsung, Sony and Deutsche Telekom. In addition to helping Dropbox snag new customers, these deals also cater to and help retain existing subscribers, he said.

"The more places Dropbox is in, the more valuable it is for users," Hsieh said.

The HP and Acer partnerships are global in nature, but they both exclude the Chinese market. The deals are aimed primarily at the consumer market, although Hsieh expects they'll have a positive effect on the company's nascent efforts to enter the enterprise market with its Dropbox for Business service.

"That's how we reach businesses -- through consumers," he said, referring to the consumerization of IT trend, in which employees bring to the office devices and software that they use in their personal lives.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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