Dropbox Kills Cloud-Based Carousel, Mailbox Apps

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dropbox Dumps Mail and Photo Apps.

Cloud storage provider Dropbox is killing off two applications it introduced to much fanfare, including a photo-sharing app released last year. If you’ve been using Dropbox’s convenient and clean email app, Mailbox and Carousel, its Google Photos-like photo manager, there’s some bad news.Dropbox, the file hosting and cloud storage company with 400 million users, has been struggling to hold up its $10 billion valuation in the face of scrutiny from investors and observers, and now it looks like the other shoe is dropping as the company streamlines its business.

As it refocuses on business customers, Dropbox said today that it’s shutting down two of its once-marquee consumer-oriented apps: the photo gallery app Carousel and email client Mailbox. The San Francisco company has placed more focus recently on creating tools companies are willing to pay for, while these apps were designed with everyday consumers in mind. The photo app, called Carousel, offered to automatically back up photo stored on a phone and displayed them alongside images already stored in a Dropbox account. Sources tell us the plan will be to focus on its core product and developing other new productivity tools, such as its still-private collaboration app, Paper.

Failing to find more users, Dropbox is expected to move its focus to productivity applications such as Paper, which lets users collaborate on documents in real-time. Mailbox users, however, will have to find a new email app by February 26, 2016, when the service that the Mailbox apps depend on will shut down. “Over the past few months, we’ve increased our team’s focus on collaboration and simplifying the way people work together,” CEO Drew Houston and CTO Arash Ferdowsi wrote in a blog post announcing the decision today. It’s been two years since Dropbox bought Mailbox, a powerful email organizer that let users defer messages in their in-boxes by scheduling them to disappear from view until a later time. After achieving a valuation of $10 billion in a financing round last year, Dropbox is under pressure to increase its revenue and eventually go public or sell.

The reason for the month extension on Carousel is in part because of a feature that is being built: an export tool that gives existing Carousel users a way to move conversations and content from existing shared albums into Dropbox. In other words, shuttering these apps fits into Dropbox’s new focus on corporate productivity software and services as opposed to consumer-oriented tech. Dropbox has tried to straddle two missions in recent years: to build a product beloved by consumers and to create a service that satisfies businesses’ unique needs.

The former strategy, which includes these apps, has fallen somewhat out of favor since the company brought in chief operating officer Dennis Woodside from Google last year. Box has been far more focused on enterprise collaboration over the years than Dropbox, so to convince investors that Dropbox is actually worth more than its more tersely named competitor, it’s going to have to leapfrog Box, not to mention Microsoft and Google, in technology and user experience. I understand how frustrating it can be when you aren’t able to receive updates about a product that you feel passionate about using,” said a note sent this morning to a reader. “Mailbox hasn’t been abandoned. Dropbox acquired Orchestra, the company behind Mailbox, for a reported $100 million in 2013, before the company had even fully released its flagship iPhone app to the public. Orchestra was founded by Gentry Underwood, who previously worked at the design firm IDEO, well known for its work for Apple and other tech companies, and Scott Cannon, who had worked for Apple.

If there is anything else I can help you with please let me know.” Mailbox had not been updated since July, and if you dig through Dropbox’s support forums, a lot of questions from frustrated users were going unanswered. Dropbox will offer suggestions for how to export shared albums in early 2016, noting that content will “remain safe” whether or not someone chooses to migrate to another service. Carousel actually had an update a bit more recently, in September, but essentially saw very little development soon after its initial release in 2014.

This clever approach, along with plenty of marketing hype, to hundreds of thousands of people signing up for the waiting list for the beta version of the app. After joining Dropbox, Underwood became the company’s head of design and oversaw the design of Carousel, which launched with a lavish party in San Francisco last year. And today, Mailbox’s once fresh interface has become the standard approach for mobile email clients like Readdle’s Spark, Google’s Inbox to Microsoft’s revamped version of Outlook. Dropbox has reportedly acquired companies such as Audiogalaxy and Readmill solely for their their employees rather than their products, a practice known as “acqui-hiring.” Although Dropbox open sourced the technology behind Hackpad and Zulip’s products this year, the company has decided against open sourcing Mailbox, according to the product’s frequently asked questions page. Dropbox did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to whether it will continue to devote resources to Hackpad and Zulip, or whether it will lay off any of the Mailbox or Carousel teams.

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