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Dropbox Pro Pricing Takes a Nosedive

Dropbox Pro Pricing Takes a Nosedive

Cloud storage has become commoditized. All the major Internet players have a service on offer, and competition has driven prices down. Although it is just the latest to offer more for less, "Dropbox will continue to gain market share," predicted tech analyst Trip Chowdhry, "because it's multiplatform, it's the easiest product to use, and it is a product for the masses."

By Katherine Noyes
09/02/14 10:36 AM PT

Dropbox last week announced a Pro cloud-storage overhaul that includes new features and lower pricing.

Improved security and better sharing controls are the focus of the new features, while a simplified pricing plan offers all Dropbox Pro users a full terabyte of storage for US$9.99 per month. Previously, multiple pricing options were available: 100 GB, 200 GB or 500 GB of storage for $9.99, $19.99 or $49.99 per month, respectively.

"This is a smart move on Dropbox's part," Trip Chowdhry, a senior analyst with Global Equities Research, told the E-Commerce Times. "The price of storage hardware is plummeting," Chowdhry explained."Today's storage is a commodity, but how you provide it is a novelty."

Passwords for Shared Links

Among three new sharing features in the updated Dropbox Pro are view-only permissions for shared folders, which allow users to decide whether recipients of a shared folder can edit files within it or just view them.

A marketing consultant might want to share content with members of a client's sales team, for example, without allowing them to make changes, Dropbox spokesperson Kitty Oestlien told the E-Commerce Times.

A second feature is the ability to put passwords on shared links, creating an additional layer of security.

With the update, users now can set expiration dates on shared links as well. A wedding photographer might want to make shared links to a couple's photos expire after a certain time, for instance, requiring that recipients pay for them thereafter, Oestlien explained.

As for improved security, the new Dropbox Pro offers remote wipe, a feature that lets users delete their Dropbox files from a lost or stolen device while keeping them safely backed up in Dropbox. Dropbox Pro subscribers can access the feature from any browser and activate it in a few clicks, Oestlien said.

Time Is Precious

In addition to Dropbox Pro, there's a free Basic version and a more comprehensive paid version for businesses starting at $15 per month for five users.

Users of Dropbox Pro include artists, photographers, educators, freelancers and engineers, Oestlien pointed out.

"We've done a lot of interviews, and they're all involved in creative pursuits," she said.

Also emerging from those interviews were three themes common to most Pro users, she noted. First, users want to store increasing volumes of data using the service. Second, they're highly mobile -- on average, connected to no fewer than six devices, in fact. Finally, "time is very precious to them," Oestlien said.

Regarding the newly simplified pricing structure, "what we heard from users is, 'I don't want to have to think about or calculate how much space I need -- I just want to be able to put everything on there,'" she noted.

The Cost of Doing Business

Dropbox has gone from 100 million users in November 2012 to 300 million today, and a billion files are saved on the cloud platform every day, Oestlien said.

There's no doubt the company is facing growing competition in the cloud-storage arena, however, from players including the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, Box and Microsoft.

Price cuts have become a frequent occurrence across the board. Earlier this year, for example, Google cut the monthly price of the 1-TB plan within its competing Drive cloud-storage service from $49.99 to $9.99.

Microsoft's OneDrive for Business, meanwhile, offers 1 TB for $2.50 per month with an annual commitment; additional storage is just $0.20 per gigabyte.

Nevertheless, "I think Dropbox will continue to gain market share because it's multiplatform, it's the easiest product to use, and it is a product for the masses," Chowdhry predicted.

"The cost of doing business is going down," he observed. "I think this is very positive."

Katherine Noyes has been reporting on business and technology for decades. You can find her on Twitter and Google+.

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