According to Forbes’ Victoria Barret, Jobs was rebuffed by the scrappy startup’s founder, even with that boatload of cash on the table. Jobs, unused to being turned down — especially by a 26-year-old — turned on the quintessential Apple charm:
Jobs smiled warmly as he told them he was going after their market. “He said we were a feature, not a product,”
Part threat, part insult, all meant to pull the cloud storage firm into Apple’s maw. Dropbox head honcho Drew Houston declined a second meeting with Jobs at the startup’s HQ, fearing Apple espionage. He never heard from Steve again.
Apple then went on to announce, tout and release iCloud, a remote storage service that isn’t quite Dropbox at all. iCloud is the invisible maid, taking contacts and calendars, syncing them without a whisper, out of sight, out of mind. Dropbox is a gigabyte-stuffed backpack you can send anywhere stuffed with anything. Movies, music, pictures, programs — anything. The ethos of each seem almost at odds; iCloud is to be turned on and forgotten, Dropbox, a weathered part of your digital toolkit.
So what did Jobs have in mind? We won’t know. It’s doubtful Apple needed the infrastructure — they already have the mammoth North Carolina data centre.
So then maybe Jobs meant exactly what he said — Dropbox was meant to be a feature, not a standalone setup. Perhaps it would’ve been the new iDrive — conspicuously absent from iCloud — allowing us to move anything we want between any computer and iOS device we own. Perfectly integrated into OS X. This would have been killer. Drop a movie into the iCloud-ified Dropbox folder on your computer, and watch it beamed to your Apple TV and iPad, while knowing it’s stored safely, remotely, forever.
Photo: Cameron Schmucker