Dropbox continues to build out their enterprise messaging cachet with the news that the venerable cloud sync-and-store company has snapped up stealthy startup Droptalk for an undisclosed sum, bringing their technology and talent alike into the fold.
Droptalk's solution (Tagline: "Drop content into conversations") came in the form of a browser extension (with planned iOS and Android apps), only available via limited beta previous to the acquisition and discontinued as of today, that let users privately send links to each other and chat about them.
Users could also see a real-time feed of files from cloud storage as they were updated, lending it some obvious synergy with Dropbox. Droptalk's YouTube video demo gives the basic idea.
"About a year ago we set out to end the unnecessary friction around communication and collaboration by killing 'the work email,' writes the Droptalk team in their farewell letter.
Now, Droptalk is shutting down all operations as they work to bring their technology into the Dropbox fold. It's a strong exit for the year-old, bootstrapped Droptalk, which has a small team of five former Google and Facebook engineers, all of whom now work for Dropbox.
From a strategy perspective, this acquisition plays very nicely into Dropbox's recent forays into messaging. Previous Dropbox acquisition Mailbox tries to build a better inbox experience. And earlier this year, Zulip got snapped up by Dropbox as the company tries to build a better mobile messaging experience for the enterprise.
While their particular stances on how to address the problem may be different, Zulip, Mailbox, and now Droptalk have the same first principle: E-mail sucks. It's not hard to imagine that Dropbox will take bits and pieces from all three acquisitions to attempt to build an enterprise messaging platform that's cross-platform, mobile-friendly, and that makes it easy to collaborate on files stored with Dropbox.
But at the same time, the concerns with Dropbox's acquisition strategy are as strong as ever. As CITEworld's Nancy Gohring noted back in April, Dropbox's acquisitions are cause for concern for developers -- as Dropbox builds out its own solution, it leaves less and less room for third parties to extend functionality.
By snapping up the brainpower of smaller, stealthy startups, Dropbox is obviously hoping it can build on top of its core cloud storage with a truly enterprise-ready collaboration suite. That's important, as just about everyone from Google to Microsoft to now Apple are nipping at Dropbox's heels in the sync-and-store space. It may be worth potentially alienating developers, in Dropbox's view, if they can really differentiate.