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Dropbox acquires Zulip, readies two-headed client

Dropbox is in the news — and my personal radar screen — for a several reasons.

First, the company acquired Zulip, a very hush-hush chat solution, and won’t say boo about it. The company’s response to my email asking about the acquisition, and requesting access to the software was this, from Ashley Grabill at The Hatch Agency:

Thanks so much for reaching out, Stowe. We have nothing further to share at this time.

I have been waiting for Dropbox to being adding work tech functionality over and above the bare bones file sync-and-share that is its bread and butter. However, I had thought it might be more like Stream, a self-described ‘social workplace for Dropbox users’. Here’s an image from their website, at getstreamapp.com, not to be confused with getstreamapp.net (an App.net client).

Screenshot 2014-03-19 12.51.57

I must confess that the idea of a social workplace integrated into the Dropbox experience and directly sharing files and messages there is very appealing to me. I only learned of the Stream site last  night, and I think it’s an Australian group behind it.

Of course, that attractiveness is likely why Dropbox acquired Zulip, and I am betting that they will build a Stream-like integration of that topic-based chat service right into Dropbox. (If you check out the Zulip features, you’ll see they have almost everything in hand.) And the reason that they aren’t talking is that they don’t want to let others — Google Drive, Box, Microsoft Drive, Apple iCloud, plus the growing field of others, like Syncplicity, Hightail, Intralinks, Egnyte, and so on — know what they are planning.

In related new, Dropbox is soon to release the capability to manage both personal and work accounts on the same clients. This was originally announced last year in November (see Dropbox for Business is only the start: next, work management and office apps), but will be rolling out 9 April.