Taking repeated potshots at the bloated, feature-heavy Microsoft Sharepoint, Box.net on Thursday in Palo Alto, Calif., announced a new version of its software.
"For every one dollar spent in Sharepoint licenses, there's another $6 to $9 required to support that," Box.net CEO Aaron Levie told a roomful of reporters and investors at the press conference. "We've compressed that whole stack and delivered it as a single (offering) to our customers."
The new release is squarely targeted at IT users of Microsoft Sharepoint. Box has always sold to the enterprise, but today's announcement of a totally redesigned interface, back-end security and admin for IT users, and integrations with cloud vendors Netsuite and VMware, drove its mission home.
Samsung also attended the announcement, promising future integration of Box with its next-generation Galaxy tablet, due next quarter, Samsung VP Tim Wagner said.
The new software is available to all current 5 million Box users, said Levie, noting that with current legacy systems -- "such as Sharepoint" -- long product cycles make such software unpalatable to IT. "I mean, look," Levie said. "Microsoft is already working on versions of the product you won't see for a couple years -- these are slow cycles." Other announced features of the new Box version 5 include a simpler interface, more collaboration features and real time updates that show up across departments and across platforms, mobile also. The new version squarely incorporates HTML5. "There's a revolution happening," said Levie, "Users are bringing their own software to work."
That means, Levie added, the need to meet the demands of IT data security, which include more administrative controls and advanced integration and control options. "The only way to sell to enterprise is to do it with tools that make sense for the end user," he said.
Box is free to end users, but it costs $15 per user, per month for mid-sized businesses and $35 per user (scalable discounts available) for large enterprises and heavily regulated industries which require advanced security and admin features.