Sector Roadmap: file sync-and-share platforms

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Methodology
  4. Disruption vectors
  5. Company analysis
  6. Outlook and key takeaways
  7. About Stowe Boyd

1. Summary

The rise of file sync-and-share applications like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive has come at an astonishing rate, with hundreds of millions now using such tools on a daily basis. Today a wide variety of offerings supports a diverse set of users. That group of users includes individuals seeking to access their personal files across different devices, small work groups sharing folders and documents as the foundation of their work, and enormous corporate document-management solutions that serve thousands of workers involved in critical enterprise processes.

We’ve applied this Sector RoadmapTM analysis to the latter two use cases, based on the premise that file sync-and-share can act as the distributed core of enterprise-collaboration architecture. However, there is a complicating factor: Market consolidation is imminent, and indeed may have already begun. This ongoing consolidation operates like a meta-disruptor. As a result, we’ve introduced some market-specific models to help us understand sector dynamics better.

Key findings in this analysis include:

  • Growing interest in security in many industries and functions is translating into an explosion of security-oriented file sync-and-share offerings, but existing enterprise software vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, and the entry of Amazon’s Zocalo will destabilize the sector.
  • File sync-and-share capabilities will soon be offered at the operating-system level from Apple, Google, and perhaps Microsoft. This, combined with cloud-storage pricing approaching zero, poses serious challenges for most pure-play file sync-and-share companies.
  • We have identified three classes of offerings: “best-positioned” companies (which share the characteristic of scale), “niche players” (which share the attribute of being focused on a specific niche, vertical, or set of use cases), and “challenged” organizations (which are most negatively impacted by the market consolidation in the offing).
  • Of the representative companies we evaluated through the lens of the Disruption Vectors driving the sector, Apple and Google have the strongest position, followed by Microsoft, Syncplicity, and Intralinks — the latter two with strong niche player potential. Box remains a solid general-purpose player, but its business model remains under pressure from several of the Disruption Vectors.




  • Number indicates company’s relative strength across all vectors
  • Size of ball indicates company’s relative strength along individual vector

Source: Gigaom Research


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