Dropbox has enlisted Matt Eccleston, one of the top technologists at VMware, as it plans a renewed assault on enterprise customers, sources have confirmed. Eccleston is well regarded in the virtualization circles and this is a big hire for Dropbox. After dominating the the consumer file-sync-and-store market, it’s now looking to make a concerted push into the enterprise where it faces off with enterprise software giants like Microsoft and EMC, as well as a raft of younger companies such as Box.
Eccleston, according to his LinkedIn bio, is a 13-year veteran with VMware where he was most recently chief architect and principal engineer in the company’s end-user computing group. That group built View, VMware’s desktop virtualization product. A prime rationale for desktop virtualization is that it promises safe-and-secure workplace computing — a goal that is near and dear to IT professionals.
VMware, which leads the world in server virtualization, has the sort of credibility with business customers that Dropbox seeks as it tries to entrench Dropbox for Business in paying customer accounts.
Eccleston is just the latest in a series of enterprise-y hires for San Francisco-based Dropbox. Just a few weeks ago the company brought on Ross Piper, formerly SVP of enterprise strategy and alliances Salesforce.com. Another Salesforce.com alum, Kevin Egan, now heads sales for the company, and Johann Butting, a former Google director, is leading Dropbox’s charge in Europe.
Neither Dropbox nor VMware had comment for this story but several sources confirmed Eccleston’s move.
In June, Dropbox launched a partner program to capitalize on the demand it sees from business users for a sanctioned product. Consumers have long loved Dropbox, which lets them store and share massive files with friends and family. And Dropbox claims well over 100 million users. But there is a free version of the service and it is far from clear how many of those millions are paying what they use.
ESG senior analyst Teri McClure says Dropbox needs to ease concerns of risk-averse IT folks — many of whom have actually tried to ban the use of Dropbox and similar consumer products from their work space.
“Dropbox has a tremendous consumer business — they’re the Kleenex [of cloud storage and sync] and 10 years down the road, when today’s kids go into IT, they’ll accept Dropbox. But today’s IT folks are still conservative and need to work with vendors they’re comfortable with,” she said.
Hires like Eccleston may make those IT pros more comfortable with Dropbox.