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Cloud storage is a way for companies and people to store data on remote servers so that it can be accessed with any internet-connected device. Cloud storage exists in the same realm as cloud computing, which is the provisioning of software (think office applications, database programs, customer relationship management tools etc) that runs remotely and can be accessed via the internet.

Dropbox (DBX) is one of the biggest names in cloud storage. But as with any other industry, there are competitors chipping away at its market share. Read on to learn more about Dropbox and its rivals.

Key Takeaways

  • Dropbox has more than 600 million registered users and 14.3 million paying subscribers.
  • Box, its nearest competitor, has 70.6 million registered users and approximately 13.4 million paying customers.
  • Every Google account comes with 15 GB of free storage. Its first tier of paid services starts at $1.99 per month for 100 GB of storage.
  • Amazon cloud storage is geared toward consumers. Amazon Prime members receive unlimited storage for photos.

Dropbox: An Overview

Dropbox was founded in 2007. The service allows users to create a folder on their desktop, laptop, phone or other internet-connected device and sync this with its cloud-based storage. Other features include file version history, shared folders and links, file transfer, watermarking, comments and annotations, notifications, file encryption, and a host of other features that enable teams to work virtually and seamlessly. Dropbox integrates with Microsoft, Zoom, Slack and Google and a number of other applications.

As of the end of December 2019, Dropbox reported more than 600 million registered users. However, just 14.3 million had converted to paid subscribers.

In 2019, Dropbox reported $1.66 billion in revenue, up from $1.39 billion in 2018. It lost $52.7 million, which was significantly better than the $484.9 million loss recorded in 2018.

Dropbox offers several plans for users:

  • Basic: Its most popular plan. The basic free plan comes with 2 GB of storage. Users can sync, back-up, share and collaborate on files.
  • Professional: $19.99 per month or $198.96 if billed annually. For individuals. Comes with 3 TB of storage, version history and file recovery, customer support and other tools.
  • Standard: $15 per user per month, or $150 if billed annually. For teams. Comes with 5 TB of storage, tools for HIPAA compliance and admin features.
  • Advanced: $25 per user per month, or $240 if billed annually. For teams. Comes with unlimited storage, plus more robust admin features such as audit logs and the ability to permission user devices.
  • Enterprise: Contract pricing.

Box

Box (BOX) is the main competitor to Dropbox, and is also a software-as-a-services company that provides cloud-based collaboration and workflow tools. Businesses and enterprises can integrate Box with more than 1,500 applications from Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce.com, Apple, Google, Slack, Adobe and many others. 

The company was founded in 2005. At the end of January 2020, Box had 70.6 million registered users. Of these, 81% were non-paying users and 19%—or approximately 13.4 million—were registered under a business or enterprise account, or they were a paying individual user. It had 97,000 paying organizations globally and offered services in 24 languages.

For its fiscal year ending in January 2020, Box reported $696.26 million in revenue, compared with $608.38 million a year earlier. Losses came to $144.35 million, compared with a $134.6 million loss posted a year earlier.

Box offers a free service for individuals that provides 10 GB of storage with a 250 MB file upload limit. At $10 per month, users can upgrade to 100 GB of storage and a 5 GB upload limit.

Box offers four tiers of pricing for business customers:

  • Starter: $7 per user per month, or $60 billed annually. Comes with 100 GB of storage, collaboration with up to 10 users, and integrations with Office 365 and G Suite.
  • Business: $20 per user per month, or $180 billed annually. Comes with unlimited storage and user collaboration, Office 365 and G Suite integration, one additional enterprise app integration, admin console access, data loss protection, and custom branding.
  • Business Plus: $33 per user per month, or $300 billed annually. Same as the Business plan, but with three additional app integrations.
  • Enterprise: $47 per user per month, or $420 billed annually. Same as Business plan, but with unlimited app integrations, HIPPA/FedRamp compliance, document watermarking and password policy enforcement.

Google Drive

Google Drive from Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) is a cloud storage and collaboration system that works with Gmail, Google Docs and other applications. Users can share files and folders, grant read or write access to those files, and access files from multiple devices. If you have a Google account, you already have access to Google Drive, which comes with 15 GB of free storage.

There are paid options for heavy users, teams and businesses:

  • 100 GB: $1.99 monthly or $19.99 prepaid for a year. At this tier, users also have access to Google Experts and can add family members to their plan.
  • 200 GB: $2.99 monthly or $29.99 prepaid for a year. Same as above, plus customers receive 3% back on Google Store purchases.
  • 2 TB: $9.99 monthly or $99.99 prepaid for a year. Google Experts, family plan, plus 10% back on Google Store purchases.
  • 10 TB: $99.99 monthly. Benefits same as above.
  • 20 TB: $199.99 monthly. Benefits same as above.
  • 30 TB: $299.99 monthly. Benefits same as above.

Amazon

Online retailer Amazon (AMZN) offers two cloud-based storage services geared toward consumers: Amazon Photos and Amazon Drive. Every Amazon Prime member has access to unlimited photo storage with their Prime membership. The service comes with editing and organization features, and cannot be used as a part of a commercial business (for example, running a photography studio).

Amazon Prime customers are also provided with 5 GB of Amazon Drive storage for videos and other data files. Additional storage space is priced at $19.99 annually for 100 GB. Beyond that, Amazon charges $59.99 annually for each 1 TB of storage with no volume discounts.