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Box CEO jokes, ‘I hope Google’s GDrive fails’

by David Needle

April 18 2012

Box CEO Aaron Levie took the DEMO stage here for a wide-ranging interview with the show’s executive producer, Matt Marshall.

Santa Clara, Calif. -- Levie said Box plans to continue innovating to stay ahead of the suddenly crowded field of cloud-based document management competitors that includes DropBox and, if recent rumors are to be believed, Google.

The search giant is expected to soon announce an online storage service called GDrive. The new service is expected to offer 5GB of online storage for free and the ability to sync, share and retrieve those documents online.

“Their job is to get into very big categories,” said Levie. “They are going to be a very important competitor particularly on the consumer side. As businesses want to scale, that’s our entire business, to offer a more scalable, open platform.”

Before moving on to other topics, Levie cracked, “A lot of people will open GDrive and it could be a great thing, but I hope it fails.”

Speaking more generally, Levie said the growth of mobile devices, particularly the iPad, is creating opportunities for Box and other services designed to help companies manage and distribute information.

“We talk to CIOs every day deploying iPads and they’re literally getting FedEx shipments of iPads and have to figure out how they want to use them,” he said.

Levie called the iPad a disruptive platform that is changing the way applications work. “The iPad is essentially this terminal to the cloud and you can get to everything you need from there.”

He said he doesn’t think traditional enterprise software companies like IBM, Oracle and SAP are going to do anything truly disruptive in mobile.

“They’re mainly porting their traditional software to mobile,” said Levie. “They are talking to their customers about using mobile as an endpoint for their data and that can be innovative, but it’s not disruptive.”

By contrast, Levie said he sees an opportunity to use mobile as a distribution mechanism for new technology. “We could see a world where best-of-breed enterprise applications are acquired on an a la carte basis,” he said. 

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