Box’s Levie: Google Drive not a competitor

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Aaron Levie, founder and CEO of Box, said even with the long-awaited arrival of Google Drive, he still doesn’t see Google as a competitor. That’s because he sees Box as more of a dedicated collaboration platform that happens to have storage and syncing, making Microsoft’s Sharepoint more of a direct rival than Google Drive.

“You can’t accidentally build a collaboration platform, it has to be a strategic decision to compete with Microsoft and we don’t think Google has done that,” Levie told me. “Microsoft is our primary competitor and Google Drive didn’t change that.”

Google, of course, is also touting the collaboration features of Google Drive, which is built around Google Docs. But Levie believes that Box, which was founded in 2005, has a longer head start in building a collaboration layer that works for customers. He said the business problem doesn’t come down to storage, which will continue to decrease in price. It’s about enabling workers to share information together.

“We built a collaboration platform that happened to have a syncing tool to get data into it,” he said.

Levie said companies also have a very diverse mix of computing solutions and they need to have an open, agnostic tool that isn’t built around one platform. Levie said that’s what corporate customers are looking for: a nimble, focused competitor that is targeting enterprise customers exclusively.

“If you’re a CIO, do you want a company that is trying to work on advertising, search, glasses, mobile and cars, or do you want a company that is working solely on a collaboration and storage platform?” he said.

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