Dropbox will get bought next year, predicts IDC

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston will be a happy man next year, if IDC is correct. Credit: Financial Times Photos via Flicker Creative Commons license

Dropbox will be acquired by a major enterprise player next year, predicts IDC.

In its annual report of predictions for the coming year, IDC writes that 2013 will be the year where big enterprise vendors realize that consumerization "doesn't mean mimicking consumer technologies in the enterprise but actually acquiring and/or integrating with widely adopted consumer offerings in the enterprise." 

That means buying the leader in the space.

Dropbox is the most popular online storage and collaboration service, with more than 100 million users, but has been squarely focused on consumers and end users, rather than business users. That started to change a bit last month with the introduction of Dropbox Chooser, which lets third-party developers integrate Dropbox storage into their apps -- including business services like Asana. 

In the meantime, enterprise-focused competitors like Box, Egnyte, and Watchdox have offered similar services with much more robust security and permissions structures.

But IDC believes that Dropbox's huge userbase will trump these concerns, and make Dropbox worth billions for some big enterprise player. Last year, Dropbox raised a funding round at a reported valuation of $4 billion.

The firm wrote, "This will certainly be an expensive acquisition, but it will be one that brings an enormous number of consumers (many of whom are also employees), and a growing number of ecosystem partners, along with Dropbox's technology."

IDC also made some other acquisition predictions related to consumerization:

  • The SaaS acquisition spree will accelerate. Likely targets "include virtually all private and publicly held SaaS vendors with over $25 million in revenue in 2012, including Concur Technologies, Cegedim, IntraLinks, athenahealth, Cerner, NetSuite, ServiceNow, and Ultimate Software."
  • Microsoft will buy a community management platform like Lithim or Get Satisfaction to boost its CRM offerings
  • Oracle and Salesforce will also get deeper into the social-marketing game with some acquisitions.
  • Big data acquisitions will focus on analytics companies. Likely buyers include Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP, EMC, Dell, and Hitachi.
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