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Box to beef up cloud storage with workflow engine

Juan Carlos Perez | Sept. 4, 2014
Box also rolled out consulting services and tailored packages for vertical industries.

Box for Industries will combine Box technologies, third-party applications for specific industries and implementation services from Box and system integrator partners, including Accenture.

Levie also announced the launch of the beta testing period for the previously announced integration between its service and Microsoft's Office 365 productivity suite. The integration will let users open, edit, share and save files from Box within Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other applications. Box is also working on an integration with Outlook, to let users share links to files stored in Box and turn document attachments into Box links within the Outlook interface.

Box is also integrating its product with Office Online, the lightweight, Web-based version of Office, and with the cloud versions of the SharePoint, Lync and Exchange servers. Levie encouraged the about 5,000 attendees at the conference to reach out to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella via Twitter to convince him to make Box a cloud storage option for the Office suite on the iPad.

Box also announced an upgrade for Box Notes, its lightweight note-taking tool. The app, which can also be used also for simple project planning, group task management and individual to-do lists, will soon support the creation of tables and will feature version history, so that users can review previous drafts of a document.

Box Notes, announced last year and rolled out to all customers in May, has been used for 600,000 hours so far, almost half of the time from mobile devices, Levie said.

Meanwhile, Box plans to also add the ability to annotate documents the users call up via its desktop browser viewer tool, which supports more than 100 file types.

The Los Altos, California, company, which has about 1,000 employees, closed its fiscal year on Jan. 31 with revenue of $124.2 million, up 111 percent year over year, and a net loss of $168.6 million, compared with a net loss of $112.6 million in the previous year. In its IPO registration statement, filed in March with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Box said it doesn't expect to turn a profit in the foreseeable future.

In that filing, Box said that only 7 percent of its then about 25 million end users paid for the service. One of those paying customers is GE, which announced in May its plans to roll out Box to its 300,000 employees worldwide.

Box has a free service option for individual users, and paid options for $5 per user/month, $15 per user/month and $35 per user/month.

Asked by IDG News Service in July when Box planned to go public, Levie said the company is waiting for the right time. "We'll do it when the market is ready," he said then. The company recently closed a $150 million funding round.


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