Box announced on Tuesday that its business accounts will receive unlimited cloud storage.
Earlier in July Box received $150 million in funding to allow it to compete amongst storage giants such as Dropbox, Google and Microsoft. Smaller companies such as Rushfiles, Cloudian and Avere have also recently received funding to compete in the highly competitive cloud storage market.
Up to this announcement, the only Box account that offered unlimited storage was its enterprise edition priced at $35 per user per month. Now, current and future business customers also have access to as many terabytes of storage as they have data. Previously, the business plan was priced at $15 per user per month but only included one terabyte of data.
Cloud storage prices continue to drop making storage a commodity. Box’s pricing is still slightly higher than Google, at least on the enterprise version. Google enterprise edition offers unlimited storage for $10 per user per month while its business version is only $5 per user but caps storage at 30 gigabytes. Microsoft OneDrive is priced at just $2.50 per user; it’s currently capped at 25 gigabytes but says one terabyte of storage is “coming soon.”
“When you’re talking about 2-3 cents per GB per month you can’t go any lower than that…so that’s why I say let’s not talk about the infrastructure…nobody is going to talk about the cloud infrastructure 3 years from now, they’re just going to say ‘what does the cloud infrastructure enable?’ and what that is going to bring us to is managed services,” Ashar Baig, research director at Gigaom, told the WHIR in an interview earlier this year.
Box also announced new integrations available this fall with Office 365 and Microsoft Office.
“The competition for business customers will no longer be about how much information a solution enables them to store, but rather, what it allows them to do with that information,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO, Box. “Our deep integrations into the Office 365 suite expand our commitment of building capabilities that make content stored on our platform more valuable, information more powerful, and companies of all sizes more connected.”
The new integrations include Box for Office 2013 Desktop, which allows users to use Box from within Office 2013 desktop apps. Box for Outlook 2013 gives users the capability to share links to files in box and convert attachments to box links all within the software.
With storage being such a commodity, service providers like Box should focus on distinguishing themselves from the competition based on service offerings rather than infrastructure.
Companies such as AvePoint are taking advantage of creating unique services like the new Box to Sharepoint integration called DocAve Cloud Connect. Its product allows users of SharePoint and Box to collaborate without the need to duplicate data.
“Many of the world’s largest companies across a variety of industries are adopting a new IT model to support a more collaborative, distributed and mobile workforce,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box in an AvePoint release. “This new user-centric model requires software with a higher degree of design and functionality that works in a multi-platform and multi-device world and will connect people with their content at scale.”
The office product integrations Box announced along with the unlimited storage seems to be a step in the right direction of making storage a useful, integrated asset to a business. Collaboration with companies like Avepoint to utilize its service should also help Box to distinguish itself from other storage service providers. Whether its enough to compete with the big players in the storage arena remains to be seen.