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Steve Ballmer: With 100M Users, Dropbox is a 'Little Startup'

By - Source: Businessweek | B 44 comments

Software giant's SkyDrive boasts over double the amount of users.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that cloud storage service Dropbox is nothing more than a "little startup".

SkyDrive, the software giant's own cloud storage service, has more than 200 million users as of October, 2012, as revealed by former Windows president Steven Sinofsky (who is, incidentally, said to have been fired by Ballmer himself). Dropbox reached the 100 million users milestone back in November.

"Well, you've got to remember, 100 million sounds like a pretty small number to me, actually," Ballmer told BusinessWeek. "We've got a lot more Office users. And actually if you even want to go to the cloud, we have a lot of Hotmail and SkyDrive users. I'm not beating on Dropbox. They're a fine little startup and that's great."

The executive's comments come after Microsoft launched Office 2013, which allows users to save documents to SkyDrive. Ballmer, however, has had a history of bashing the competition. Back in 2007, he stressed that the iPhone will never account for a significant market share. He also criticized Android by stating that Google's mobile platform can only be used by a computer scientist.

 

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  • 22 Hide
    jimmyjohnz , January 31, 2013 4:37 PM
    So by logic of Ballmer's previous comments, Dropbox will be dominating the field of cloud storage in the next few years.
  • 22 Hide
    matthelm , January 31, 2013 4:50 PM
    And how many users does Windows 8 have? ;-)
  • 22 Hide
    Parsian , January 31, 2013 4:59 PM
    MSFT needs to fire this idiot. He is destroying the company.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    jimmyjohnz , January 31, 2013 4:37 PM
    So by logic of Ballmer's previous comments, Dropbox will be dominating the field of cloud storage in the next few years.
  • 21 Hide
    yarmock , January 31, 2013 4:40 PM
    The last paragraph sums it all up. This guy has no idea what he's talking about.
  • 22 Hide
    matthelm , January 31, 2013 4:50 PM
    And how many users does Windows 8 have? ;-)
  • 15 Hide
    ddpruitt , January 31, 2013 4:51 PM
    Except that Ballmer leaves out an important fact:

    If your a live user, your being counted as a Skydrive user whether you like it or not!

    No wonder MS is crashing....
  • -3 Hide
    cscott_it , January 31, 2013 4:53 PM
    Typical spin story - after reading the interview it seems like any CEO propping up his own product while acknowledging the competition. Maybe I'm a little ambivalent to this type of stuff - but do you think CISCO, SAP, IBM, etc. would say something different if asked about a similar positioned company to their business?
  • 22 Hide
    Parsian , January 31, 2013 4:59 PM
    MSFT needs to fire this idiot. He is destroying the company.
  • 12 Hide
    Maxx_Power , January 31, 2013 5:01 PM
    Did the protective fat in his brain descend into his body ?
  • 14 Hide
    john15v16 , January 31, 2013 5:04 PM
    Steve Ballmer = freakin idiot
  • 15 Hide
    olaf , January 31, 2013 5:13 PM
    And out of those 200mil how many actually use Skydrive ? i have 3 skydrive enabled accounts and i use exactly 0 out of that .... i do how ever use Dropbox...
  • 16 Hide
    Vorador2 , January 31, 2013 5:14 PM
    The mistery of the millenium: why Ballmer hasn't been fired yet.
  • 12 Hide
    namecnassianer , January 31, 2013 5:16 PM
    Quote:
    do you think CISCO, SAP, IBM, etc. would say something different if asked about a similar positioned company to their business?


    Yes, I do. IBM has or had a strict policy against disparaging the competition.

    It's known as class, a word which does not appear to be in Mr. Ballmer's dictionary.
  • 0 Hide
    Pinhedd , January 31, 2013 5:23 PM
    jimmyjohnzSo by logic of Ballmer's previous comments, Dropbox will be dominating the field of cloud storage in the next few years.


    Dominating a market, and being the most profitable entity in a market are two different things. Dropbox is awesome but they're currently burning through investor capital without taking in a ton of revenue. They're going to be in a tough spot if they aren't financially stable when the VCs want to pull out. Other more established companies have also taken notice of Dropbox's success and created product plans that are either more affordable than Dropbox, or more varied than Dropbox.

    Their marketing team has some serious work to do if they don't want to get pushed out of the market that they helped create.
  • 3 Hide
    izmanq , January 31, 2013 5:24 PM
    :p  ms office heh ? i use libre office it's free :p 
  • 0 Hide
    ingtar33 , January 31, 2013 5:26 PM
    i don't know... for me Dropbox has been a revelation. It has single-handled changed how i run my office computers, do my IT job, and in general it integrates every device I've got seamlessly.

    Till i see another cloud storage solution as simple, unobtrusive and error free Dropbox will be the only cloud solution for me. I used to use Skydrive... i don't anymore.
  • 2 Hide
    warezme , January 31, 2013 5:43 PM
    can we get some new pics in these posts? There gettin real looong oooon tthhheee toooooooth.
  • 2 Hide
    blader15sk8 , January 31, 2013 5:52 PM
    Registered users != Active users. I am sure more people actually use Dropbox, and for people that use both, probably use Dropbox more often.
  • 7 Hide
    AndreT , January 31, 2013 6:10 PM
    "Well, you've got to remember, 100 million sounds like a pretty small number to me, actually,"

    And just how many Windows 8 users are we at now Mr. Ballmer? Not licenses shipped and sitting on a shelf but actual users.

    100 million sounds like a pretty big number now doesn't it?
  • 1 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , January 31, 2013 6:18 PM
    How many iOS or Android users are there compared to Windows Mobile OSs?
    hmm... Mr. Ballmer you're not even a startup by your definition when it comes to mobile devices.
  • 1 Hide
    SneakySnake , January 31, 2013 6:33 PM
    Maybe I'll be horribly wrong, but it seems to me that in few years dropbox won't be relevant. (I currently use dropbox everyday and love it)

    Back when apple was creating iCloud they offered dropbox a very large amount of money to be a significant part of the new service (I think it was around a billion $ offered?). Dropbox refused, which I respect, they want to pave their own way in the world, which they already have done to a certain extent.

    However, since they started up pretty much everyone offers cloud storage natively. MS has Skydrive, Apple has iCloud, Google has Google Drive, etc. In the future I can't see to many people bothering to install dropbox when their device already has native support for a different cloud storage system.

    I think dropbox does things the best currently, but it's potential customers are becoming narrower everyday. Mega just started up and his offering 50 GB for free. I've worked on my dropbox account for years (free version) and have grown it from 2 GB to 22.4 GB currently.

    tl;dr: dropbox is a great service, but with every major company offering native cloud storage now, I can't see dropbox having nearly as many customers in the future, even if they do offer some of the best features.
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