Dropbox has half a billion users, but it needs more paying businesses

The company's new user numbers raise more questions than they answer

Dropbox has long been an incredibly popular choice for cloud file storage and sync, and the company announced Monday it hit an important milestone: It has 500 million registered users. 

That number leaves out a lot of information. It's unclear whether Dropbox has 500 million unique people registered to use its service, or if it has 500 million registered accounts, with some people using multiple accounts. The company also didn't say how many of those accounts are active. 

Dropbox also said that it has 150,000 businesses paying for its product -- which is the same figure it unveiled at a conference in November. In Monday's announcement, the firm said it adds 25,000 paying business customers each quarter, meaning it now should have upwards of 175,000 paying customers. 

That last figure is particularly important because Dropbox's business relies on convincing companies to use its services for their internal file storage and collaboration needs.

Dropbox said it is already used inside 8 million businesses -- in many cases, without being approved by IT -- but the actual percentage of businesses paying for the privilege of using the service is much smaller. 

Dropbox's pitch to IT managers is simple: CIOs can be heroes to their users by allowing them to use the same tools they're already comfortable with on their home computers. At the same time, paying for Dropbox Business or Enterprise will give companies the ability to manage what their employees are doing.

The company has made headway picking up customers, especially among small teams. It also has some big names using its product, including News Corp., Intuit and Expedia. But it's facing a ton of pressure from competitors, including Microsoft, Google and Box.

Dropbox has added a lot of enterprise-focused talent to its team, including Microsoft veteran Thomas Hansen, meaning that customers are likely to see additional improvements aimed at making the startup's product more interesting to enterprises. It remains to be seen whether that will translate to customer gains, however.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?