Box CEO Gives Insider’s Take on Consumerization of IT

Aaron Levie, the chief executive of enterprise cloud storage provider Box, provided his view on this emerging industry, its consumer market origins, and current state.  His firm focuses mainly on corporate clients, powering 82 percent of Fortune 500 companies according to Levie, but the consumer market has not been left astray from his agenda. Late last month Box partnered up with LG for a promotional deal available to anyone who logs into the service until the end of March from an Android-powered LG device.  It’s become a marketing tool for Box and its partners, as they revealed another promotional with HP today.

During the interview with PCMag, Levie provided some background about his company, which originally started off in 2005 with no distinctive appeal to the consumer or the enterprise market.  Eventually Box shifted its focus to business customers in 2007 because the “consumer space tends to get commoditized pretty quickly by companies like Google or Microsoft or Apple,”  the CEO explained.  This is still very much the case in light of the recent launch of iTunes Match, a new iCloud music locker service that hopes to gain the edge over the many other alternatives out there by eliminating the need to upload Gigabytes worth of music, or more to Apple’s services. Instead it syncs with the iTunes library directly.

Levie went on to describe the shift within companies that changed from traditional means of collaboration to his company’s offerings.

“Across all of these use cases, the pattern that emerged was people want to be able to share everywhere, they want to be able to work from anywhere, and they want to be able to do this for an extremely low cost. And we had a technology that allowed them to do it, so that’s why we focused on the enterprise.”

Levie lastly noted that he perceives Microsoft to be his company’s biggest competitor. This is true in the enterprise space where SharePoint is very widely used, and increasingly so in the consumer space where it’s promoting offerings such as the newly overhauled SkyDrive.

It’s an important junction point for consumer and enterprise cloud, and as storage plays a bigger role in both of these sectors, Box must continue to strengthen its position to fend off the many angles being leveraged by today’s cloud industry.  The cloud is becoming many things to many people, and Box has always tried to remain a fluid influence that spans a number of industries for enterprise and consumer alike, two areas with diminishing difference when it comes to IT and the cloud.