Dropbox shows its ambitions with Mailbox acquisition

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Cloud storage specialist Dropbox today bought out Orchestra, the company behind the much-hyped email app Mailbox.

The acquisition is widely thought to be a bid by Dropbox to expand its horizons beyond cloud storage and file sharing.

At present its unclear exactly how much Dropbox paid for Orchestra and it’s unlikely any official figure is going to be announced.

The idea that Dropbox bought the company in order to expand on its current offerings is also evident in the official blog post announcing the acquisition.

After a bit of bumpf from Dropbox founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi about how much they love the Mailbox app, they suggest that the acquisition could help them “save millions a lot of pain”.

After spending time with Gentry, Scott, and the team, it became clear that their calling was the same as ours at Dropbox—to solve life’s hidden problems and reimagine the things we do every day. We all quickly realized that together we could save millions of people a lot of pain.

Dropbox doesn’t replace your folders or your hard drive: it makes them better. The same is true with Mailbox. It doesn’t replace your email: it makes it better. Whether it’s your Dropbox or your Mailbox, we want to find ways to simplify your life.

In among all those touchy-feely proclamations of a business match made in heaven are signs that Orchestra could help Dropbox explore previously untapped business wells.

Perhaps the most obvious of those is in mobile, a space Dropbox is increasingly keen to play in. The ability to put the kind of know-how Orchestra used on Mailbox into future mobile Dropbox products makes it that much stronger an acquisition.

It’s certainly not about to start interfering with Mailbox just yet. The massively hyped email app will apparently remain a standalone product once the deal goes through.

Having a diverse range of products under its belt will also be useful to Dropbox if it decides to go public. That’s rumoured to be happening later this year.

As things stand, Dropbox is considered one of the hottest tech startups in Silicon Valley. It has managed to raise some respectable cash since launching in 2008. It commands a total venture capital funding of US$257.2-million from several investors such as Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners.

Despite laying claim to over 100-million users in the cloud storage and file-sharing game, having a few extra bows up its sleeve certainly wouldn’t do it any harm.

Dropbox’s most recent round of funding saw it valued at US$4-billion.

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