There’s no doubt that consumers and companies alike are moving to the cloud. According to Forbes, end-user spending on the cloud will be over $180 billion by next year, and for good reason. It’s proven, after all, that the cloud can save companies both time, and money. About 80% of companies who adopted the cloud saw improvements within six months of their switch, while another 82% of companies reportedly saved money by switching to the cloud.
However, it seems that the question on everyone’s mind is where in the cloud are consumers moving to?
Box, Amazon Web Services, IBM, and EMC are fiercely competing in the enterprise sector for corporate customers, yet none seems to be rising to the top and staying there. Google, and Microsoft, on the other hand, are left vying for the largest share of consumers, but it’s Dropbox who’s in the lead there.
Though the company is only six years old, it’s been in the cloud business for two years more than Google, and only two years less than Microsoft. As of May, Dropbox boasts 300 million users, while Google Drive only has 240 million as of September, and OneDrive — Microsoft’s cloud computing solution — has “more than” 250 million users.
However, these numbers don’t necessarily indicate who’s winning in the end-consumer sector, since each makes money off of the free services differently. Each service encourages users to store as much as possible to the cloud, so that they soon need to purchase premium services to continue using it, but Google has a second motive. It uses its user data to serve more personalized advertisement, thus pulling in additional revenue.
So with Dropbox ahead in numbers, and Google using other strategies to capitalize on the cloud, Microsoft has been hard pressed to come up with a new way to gain ground. This is likely why the company announced a partnership with Dropbox at the end of October. Now, Dropbox users will be able access their accounts right from Microsoft Office, and edit their Office files within the Dropbox app. This promotes the use of Microsoft Office, which in turn could pull some users onto Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service.
While it vaguely seems like Dropbox is winning, with its two main competitors catching up, there is one clear winner in the cloud hosting wars: consumers.