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Data Storage Businesses Cloud Google

Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google 275

Posted by Soulskill
from the rsync-is-still-pretty-cheap dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Google and Amazon are both aggressively pursuing the cloud storage market, constantly increasing available storage space and constantly dropping prices. On its face, this looks great for the consumer — competition is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, many smaller companies like Box, Dropbox, and Hightail simply aren't able to run their services at a loss like the giants can. Dropbox's Aaron Levie said, "These guys will drive prices to zero. You do not want to wait for Google or Amazon to keep cutting prices on you. 'Free' is not a business model."

The result is that the smaller companies are pivoting to win market share, relying on specific submarkets or stronger feature sets rather than available space or price. "Box is trying to cater to special data storage needs, like digital versions of X-rays for health care companies and other tasks specific to different kinds of customers. Hightail is trying to do something similar for customers like law firms. And Dropbox? It is trying to make sure that its consumer-minded service stays easier to use than what the big guys provide." It's going to be tough for them to hold out, and even tougher for new storage startups to break in. But that might be the only thing keeping us from choosing between the Wal-Mart-A and Wal-Mart-B of online storage.
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Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

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  • by sd4f (1891894) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:14PM (#47744995)

    A while ago some big company offered to buy out dropbox and they declined. Surely it was a sign of the times that the big guns were going to enter the market, and when they get in, they don't muck around. Fair competition isn't something the big companies enjoy doing, as their whole business model tends to revolve around destroying competition then bleeding the market for what it's worth.

    I used dropbox for cloud storage, I liked it for collaborative work. Would be a shame to see it get destroyed through aggressive anti-competitive practices.

    • by geek (5680) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:17PM (#47745007) Homepage

      Would be a shame to see it get destroyed through aggressive anti-competitive practices.

      Fuck off. Everything you posted IS COMPETITION. Dropbox refuses to compete. They offer 2 tiers and ridiculous prices. If they had offered me a 30GB plan I would have jumped at it but my money is no good to them. Instead I would have to beg for "extra" space and game the system. So FUCK dropbox. They wont offer what I want so I've gone elsewhere. Thats called competition.

      • by popo (107611) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:07PM (#47745191) Homepage

        It's one thing to blame Amazon and Google for a price war. But DropBox's pricing scheme was always overpriced. (And the same goes for Evernote -- even though theirs is a slightly different offering). What should cost a couple bucks a month is priced multiples higher.

        Besides, DropBox has entertained MULTIPLE exit opportunities and rejected them all.

        If they disappear now, they will have only themselves to blame for not choosing any one of the multiple exits that were on the table.

        The landscape changed rapidly around the early leaders. And yet, those leaders did not change their models rapidly to match the changing landscape. Knowing when to quit, and how best to exit are essential parts of management. While we may applaud unbounded grit and unshakeable tenacity -- those qualities in a CEO are more frequently disastrous than beneficial.

        • Dropbox is for storing small quantities of apples that you want to share with friends without having to attach them to a UPS shipment and spend bucks. Evernote allows you to save an inventory list of your oranges, attach article clips describing your oranges and attach a few pictures of them.

        • by stalky14 (574130)

          I use Dropbox's free service but they've never made a dime from me because they have no middle tier. I'd happily pay $5/mo for 35-50GB, but $10 for 100GB is too much for too much.

      • There is at least an argument to be made if one looks at how much...encouragement...the platform vendors, especially on the mobile side, provide to use their own blessed and proprietary 'cloud' service; depending on how closely controlled the OS is the advantage of being the platform-blessed option can be fairly substantial.

        However, TFS seems to be worked up about the fact that the price/GB of deeply undistinguished storage has cratered over time. Yes, yes it has. Advances in disk density and datacenter
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Umm, giving away stuff at a loss while you support the losses with another part of your business is very much anti-competitive.

      • by sd4f (1891894)

        No, operating something at a loss so that it kills the competition is anti-competitive. If a company finds a different way to make money from it, that's one thing, but subsidising losses through other completely separate profitable parts of a business is purely there to destroy competition through attrition rather than actually having a better product able to sustain itself on its own merits.

        Mind you, I have taken the comments from Dropbox person at face value. I do agree that others are doing a better job,

        • No, operating something at a loss so that it kills the competition is anti-competitive.

          Who says they are selling at a loss? Storage space is a by-product [wikipedia.org] for Google, Amazon and Microsoft. They have a lot of storage space that would otherwise go to waste from their primary businesses. They can afford to sell it very cheaply because otherwise it would be nothing but an expense (waste) for them. Also bear in mind that just because they offer it to end consumers (sometimes) for free sometimes doesn't mean it is actually free. As a user of Google Drive I'm not their customer unless I actually

      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        Fuck off yourself because what they are doing is NOT competing, what they are doing is called Predatory pricing [wikipedia.org] which if the DoJ hadn't been bought and sold years ago they would be dropping the hammer on them. this is NO different than Walmart coming into an area and pricing products below cost to wipe out competition and then fucking the consumer when they are the only game in town. its pure evil corporatism at its fucking worse and it fucks everyone but the corp in the end.
        • this is NO different than Walmart coming into an area and pricing products below cost to wipe out competition and then fucking the consumer when they are the only game in town

          Which is why the net is full of documented examples of that happening........Oh wait, you can't because that's not what happens. Sure businesses get driven out because a competitor has lower prices, but you can't find substantive examples of them then raising their prices again. Because other businesses will simply move in again to compete.

          http://youtu.be/-q1fSNzYNhg?t=... [youtu.be]

          The only time you could in theory have such a situation is if there are government regulations that make it difficult or impossibl

        • what they are doing is NOT competing, what they are doing is called Predatory pricing which if the DoJ hadn't been bought and sold years ago they would be dropping the hammer on them.

          It's not illegal when the company pricing lower has a genuine cost advantage. Google and Amazon and Microsoft have VAST amounts of surplus storage space due to their other businesses and data storage to end users for them is a by-product [wikipedia.org]. By-products are almost by definition extremely cheap because if they don't have any marketable value then they are waste. Google and the others are simply selling something cheaply that would otherwise be nothing but a cost to them. That's not predatory, that's simply

      • by geekmux (1040042)

        Would be a shame to see it get destroyed through aggressive anti-competitive practices.

        Fuck off. Everything you posted IS COMPETITION. Dropbox refuses to compete. They offer 2 tiers and ridiculous prices. If they had offered me a 30GB plan I would have jumped at it but my money is no good to them. Instead I would have to beg for "extra" space and game the system. So FUCK dropbox. They wont offer what I want so I've gone elsewhere. Thats called competition.

        Compete? Fine. Then enjoy the race to ZERO, because that's what every other price tag eventually gets to in this "market". Monopolies can afford to do this all damn day long. They also enjoy selling every single bit of your privacy while they do it too.

        Enjoy your future. Oh, and don't forget to ask for a refund when they fuck you.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:42PM (#47745087)

      aggressive anti-competitive practices.

      Cut the crap. There is nothing "anti-competive" about lower prices or free services. There are very few barriers to entry in this market, so if they later try to raise prices or cut services, someone else will step in and take their customers.

      • by sribe (304414) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:52PM (#47745143)

        There is nothing "anti-competive" about lower prices or free services.

        Using profits from one sector to support selling at a loss in another sector in order to drive competition out of business is ACTUALLY THE DEFINITION OF ANTI-COMPETITIVE.

        • by exomondo (1725132) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:02PM (#47745175)

          Using profits from one sector to support selling at a loss in another sector in order to drive competition out of business is ACTUALLY THE DEFINITION OF ANTI-COMPETITIVE.

          How are you separating gmail and drive profits? They are both just methods of accessing the same block of storage. Should they be making you pay more if you want to access that same storage in a different manner?

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:22PM (#47745229)

          Using profits from one sector to support selling at a loss in another sector in order to drive competition out of business is ACTUALLY THE DEFINITION OF ANTI-COMPETITIVE.

          This is only true if they later use that market dominance to hurt consumers. Anti-trust law does not exist to protect competitors, it exists to protect the public interest in a competitive market. If they offer on-line storage for free permanently, that is not detrimental to the public. Plenty of companies offer free services to attract customers, while other companies may charge for the same services. That is not illegal.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:30AM (#47745473)

            This is incorrect. The only reason it seems this way is because it takes so long to gather evidence, and the ensuing court cases take so long to eventuate.

            Anti-competive practice may be as simple as lowering your price below cost (using any type of funding) for the purpose of driving out competition. Once that competition is gone, you can then raise your prices back to normal (or higher), and have a larger slice of the pie.

            The above act itself is subject to anti-trust laws, and not just the fact that prices may have been raised to a higher value after the fact.

            Take a look at the Microsoft anti-trust suits. They were not purely about the consumer, as Microsoft was all about expanding market share to boost profit, rather than increasing prices. It was about leveraging one market segment to gain market share in another at the expense of the competition.

            • Plenty of companies offer free services to attract customers, while other companies may charge for the same services. That is not illegal.

              This is incorrect. The only reason it seems this way is because it takes so long to gather evidence, and the ensuing court cases take so long to eventuate.

              So, what you're saying is that there are pending court cases against, say RedHat, because they offer their OS free of charge, undercutting Microsoft's offering?

              Or maybe against Google, or OpenStreetMaps, for uncompetitively providing free services that conflict with other services who do not charge?

        • Using profits from one sector to support selling at a loss in another sector in order to drive competition out of business is ACTUALLY THE DEFINITION OF ANTI-COMPETITIVE.

          You are almost certainly mistaken in your presumption that they are selling at a loss. Storage space for a company like Google or Amazon is a by-product [wikipedia.org]. It would otherwise be waste to them so they can sell it profitable very very cheaply. They aren't dumping [wikipedia.org] here because they have a genuine cost advantage.

          Frankly, Dropbox has a rather dumb business model that I really don't think has a bright future. I say this as someone who actually uses Dropbox and generally likes the product. But I really don't se

    • by Rick in China (2934527) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:06PM (#47745187)

      What do you consider fair competition, bigger players keeping prices high (like Dropbox, way overpriced limited offerings.) so they DON'T capture more market share? Is that considered fair competition? It sounds more like no competition, more like price-fixing agreements between similar service offerings, no?

      When companies compete, prices often drop - in this case drop significantly.. a company is willing to operate at a loss in order to own more of the market share and other companies simply can't compete, is that unfair? Or simply winning the competition? If you manufacture something in the US for $5 and sell it for $10, and I manufacture the same in China for $1 and sell it for $5, you may complain that you can't compete because to match my price you'd have to operate at a loss....well, sorry to say, but sad day for you. Sad day for dropbox. Improve the offerings and make the prices more reasonable or suffer the consequences that most every company has to deal with in their given industry.

      • by Camael (1048726) on Monday August 25, 2014 @04:16AM (#47745983)

        While I broadly agree with your ideal that fair competition is good for customers and specifically with the example you gave, there is more to cheap prices than meets the eye. For example, not that long ago Walmart got into trouble for predatory pricing. [ilsr.org]

        The complaint accused Wal-Mart of selling butter, milk, laundry detergent, and other staple goods below cost at stores in Beloit, Oshkosh, Racine, Tomah, and West Bend. A bottle of laundry detergent that cost Wal-Mart $6.51, for example, was sold for less than $5 at several stores> . The company’s intention, according to the complaint, was to force competitors out of business, gain a monopoly in local markets, and ultimately recoup its losses through higher prices.

        I think most people will agree this kind of competition is bad from the consumer's point of view. The problem is, it is very hard to prove intention. That very same marketing tactic, i.e. selling products at or below their cost price, is also a popular marketing tactic known as loss leading [time.com].

        It’s a classic retail technique: Attract shoppers by lowering prices on certain items, with the idea that once customers are in the store, they’ll buy full-priced items as well.

        From the merchant's point of view, he is willing to take a loss on some items to earn traffic for his other goods. To his competitors selling the same loss leader items however, this is unfair competition. My point is, it is a very thorny issue deciding when certain competitive strategies are fair or unfair and much depends on the facts of each case.

        • Yeah - good points, both of them. I think one difference here is it isn't for example, Walmart vs. the little guys. It's several giants competing with each-other as well, we've got the biggest players in the industry with strong interest in this market. I don't think Google is thinking Amazon and MS will be "forced out of business" and then later they can "ultimately recoup its losses through higher prices", or anything like that.. but it is good to pay closer attention to the nuance in these cases than I p

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Would be a shame to see it get destroyed through aggressive anti-competitive practices.

      Google Drive makes money not just with the subscription price but with advertising revenue, does DropBox do the same thing? You can hardly say it is anti-competitive just because Google monetizes the same service in a different way.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        In that case ISPs should offer the far cheapest versions of storage to keep traffic on their network but they always get greedy. Of course a smart storage vendor could just run around from ISP to ISP acting as the middle man and organising those ISP to provide storage and reduced traffic costs with the storage vendor managing mirroring etc to minimise bandwidth costs.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      A while ago some big company offered to buy out dropbox and they declined. Surely it was a sign of the times that the big guns were going to enter the market, and when they get in, they don't muck around. Fair competition isn't something the big companies enjoy doing, as their whole business model tends to revolve around destroying competition then bleeding the market for what it's worth.

      Well, "bleed" is a rather short-sighted mentality for the giants then. That's like saying we're going to "bleed" the internet for all it's worth. The internet isn't going anywhere, and neither is cloud storage, regardless of what fluffy name we give it now or later. Providers should see that, but they don't. They're too busy trying to cut the other guys head off in any way possible (lawsuit, anyone? fresh-baked, every morning).

      And of course, monopolies can afford to do this every single day.

      I used dropbox for cloud storage, I liked it for collaborative work. Would be a shame to see it get destroyed through aggressive anti-competitive practices.

      Couldn't ag

    • Fair competition isn't something the big companies enjoy doing, as their whole business model tends to revolve around destroying competition then bleeding the market for what it's worth.

      Please define "unfair" in this context. Exactly what do you think is "unfair" about what Amazon and Google are doing? You think they should have to replicate Dropbox's (probably flawed) business model to be "fair" to Dropbox? Amazon and Google can afford to offer storage space very cheaply because for them it is a by-product [wikipedia.org] of their primary business. By-products can be sold very cheaply because they would otherwise be considered waste. Dropbox is selling a mostly undifferentiated commodity product - s

      • by sd4f (1891894)
        I'm speaking in a more broader sense. But to answer your query, Microsoft have definitely built themselves a reputation in the 90's to spend money to kill competition. They're not the first, and definitely not the last. I've already written what I think is fair competition in other posts here, can follow it up if you're really that interested. I'm not explicitly saying that it's the competitors of dropbox doing it, but the point to be taken is that they were offered to be bought out, and they declined. The
  • Dropbox use AWS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by a.koepke (688359) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:24PM (#47745025)
    Amazon have never chased the consumer business, they don't want that. Their focus is fixed on supplying IT services which companies can then build their solutions on. Dropbox is powered by AWS, they are the wholesale provider.

    Amazon reducing their prices should only be a good thing for them as that will reduce the operating costs of Dropbox.
    • Re:Dropbox use AWS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Solandri (704621) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:48PM (#47745115)
      I was going to post that too. But while googling to make sure Dropbox still used Amazon S3, I came across this article [thestreet.com]. Apparently the problem for Dropbox is the price volatility. Amazon can lower or raise its prices on a whim because they don't have much competition. Dropbox doesn't have that luxury.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Unless you're buying spot instances of EC2, there's no price volatility in AWS. S3/Glacier prices dont fluctuate.

      • by XaXXon (202882)

        while they could, amazon has never raised prices on AWS.

    • by SJ (13711)

      DropBox is an over-the-top provider. Yes, they use AWS. But they are competing with Google Drive and MS OneDrive, both of whom are pushing the price down hard, and willing to lose money.

      DropBox still has to pay AWS.

      That said, perhaps DropBox could sell a self-hosted version of their software and bring over their ease-of-use.

      • by Amouth (879122)

        That said, perhaps DropBox could sell a self-hosted version of their software and bring over their ease-of-use.

        If they ever do that they will make a lot more headway in the enterprise. The ease of use is excellent from the end-user perspective. But the file retainment is a nightmare for IT organizations, and many block it because they have zero real control over the documents or ability to backup/preserve them with out massive workarounds.

        • by Trogre (513942)

          I use OwnCloud for that sort of thing. It's a little slower, but it's a hell of a lot more secure than Dropbox and no silly limits on storage, other than what size hard drives my company can afford :)

          • Re:Dropbox use AWS (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Amouth (879122) on Monday August 25, 2014 @01:30AM (#47745651)

            We tried ownCloud first, ended up with a complete mess of files as the client is very dump and only works if there is a perfect clock sync between all clients and everyone is on a low latency high bandwidth client.

            Considering we are working with multiple people on the road in spotty net connection areas with laptops from different companies whose clocks differ a small bit we ended up with a gigantic mess of conflicts and 0 byte files which lovingly got propagated.

            Needless to say our testing of ownCloud showed it to be far from ready for production use.

            Also their documentation and reliance on community forums was very sad to say the least.

            • I don't know how long ago you used OwnCloud, but it may be worth another look. OwnCloud has come onto the scene relatively recently and there have been major quality improvements as the version number increased. What may have been lacking a given feature or feeling kludgy in 4.x, could be replaced by a smooth implementation when 5.x rolls around. The latest OwnCloud 7.x highlights many of its most recent improvements here, for instance - https://owncloud.org/seven/ [owncloud.org] , some of which seem like they may be

      • Even if MS and Google aren't willing to lose money on storage(they certainly are in the short term; but as a long game that strategy will not sell well), it isn't terribly obvious why repackaging AWS should be a particularly sustainable niche.

        There is room(and dropbox exploited it) for the outfit that makes using AWS trivial and bodges together clients for OSes that allow fairly low level integration and 'app' integration for those that don't; but that's a goal where reaching 'adequate' is not a terribly
      • Re:Dropbox use AWS (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Voyager529 (1363959) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (925regayov)> on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:35AM (#47745491)

        That said, perhaps DropBox could sell a self-hosted version of their software and bring over their ease-of-use.

        That's [owncloud.org] already [pyd.io] been [seafile.com] done [tonido.com].

        The challenge DropBox faces with a self-hosted iteration of its software is that it stops being 'simple'. Existing Dropbox clients would have to be completely rewritten to go from asking "username and password, please" to "username, password, server address, and port, please". Even if we hand-wave away that problem by assuming that users can either correctly type a server name and port number, or that Dropbox will still have 'accounts' but essentially become a DynDNS clone and simply handle network traversal and matching users to their data repositories, we then have to deal with the Dropbox Server software. There may be a market for Dropbox to sell drives like these [wdc.com], but I don't see Western Digital wanting to partner with Dropbox to provide redundant functionality to their existing apps, and I don't see consumers paying more for a Dropbox branded drive if they're already in the "self-contained NAS" market - a handful might, but now Dropbox, for all intents and purposes, finds itself with all the challenges of being an external hard drive vendor...with the added bonus of directly competing with the vendors from whom they're sourcing their parts.

        The obvious alternative to this would be for them to sell their software and let it run on a LAMP/WAMP stack, on whatever hardware is on hand, and market it to the enthusiast/enterprise market, like UnRAID or Nexenta. That might be a short term win, especially if they do some fancy stuff with LDAP/Active Directory integration. Conversely, I see it potentially being a support nightmare based on how it deals with storage. Will it install on an Ubuntu desktop containing a hodgepodge of hard disks? Would it be more like FreeNAS where it makes its own software RAID, but requires hardware to be dedicated (or its own VM)? Even at that, how do they bill for the software? One-time use seems like it wouldn't be a good long-term plan, but I don't see too many users being okay with Dropbox charging them an annual fee to use their own hard drives. CALs could be a useful method (arguably the most workable one), but they'd have a hard time managing their consumer-friendly image on one hand with Oracle-style licensing on the other.

        Levie is right; 'free' isn't a business model. Dropbox's 2GB number is only sustainable because they're betting that a certain number of those users will go for a paid tier. Either every Dropbox customer will pay, or they start advertising, or they data mine. To my knowledge, those are the three business models that have sustained themselves on the internet. 'Everyone Pays' may be a viable model if Dropbox can do things like sell gift cards for their service (for users unable/unwilling to fork over their Mastercard) and come up with the right formula of how much customers are really willing to pay for storage+ubiquity+simplicity. Although Levie must certainly be feeling the pinch from Microsoft's 1TB of OneDrive for $60/year, the one client we attempted to migrate to that service went back to dropbox VERY quickly because the desktop client was utter crap; I'm left to believe that Dropbox's simplicity still has an edge just yet. Conversely, I don't think that $50/month for 500GB is worthwhile, either - That's only slightly less than it'd cost to buy a 500GB hard disk outright from Newegg every month.

        Dropbox is still a well-recognized brand that I'm certain many consumers are still willing to pay a premium for, and Microsoft and Google are competing not only with more storage for less money, but with integration as well - editing a spreadsheet in Sheets or Excel and seamless saving of attachments is not the kind of thing that Dropbox can effectively compete with.

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        they are competing with Google Drive and MS OneDrive, both of whom are pushing the price down hard, and willing to lose money.

        Really? I haven't seen any evidence that they are losing money, they may offer a lower price but that doesn't mean they are losing money.

  • Sneaky (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tokolosh (1256448) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:27PM (#47745041)

    A drive-by Dropbox installation turned me off.

  • by Trogre (513942) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:28PM (#47745045) Homepage

    It's nice that all these huge companies are so interested in control of everyone's data.

    I think I'll stick with my OwnCloud server for syncing files across devices for the time being, thanks.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday August 25, 2014 @01:12AM (#47745599)

      It's nice that all these huge companies are so interested in control of everyone's data.

      Just encrypt your files before you put them in your shared folder. Or just set the folder to automatically encrypt. There are dozens of "how to" webpages that explain how to do this with DropBox and TrueCrypt, and it isn't hard to do it with other services.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:30PM (#47745053)

    Having worked in this "file sharing" industry, this result is no surprise to me. The platformers, especially those with heavy investments in content suites (Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop/PDF, Google Docs, etc.) are tired of letting the middlemen make money off of cloud storage and collaboration. Furthermore, they understand the danger of allowing their customers to congregate around "platform independent" technologies too long. Worse, companies with just a dozen or two people can crank out everything Box, etc. can do in less than a year and sell it as either an on-premise or cloud solution. (There are dozens of clones now.) The result is that companies like DropBox aren't worth anything for their technology anymore - instead, it's a race to see if they can "run out the clock" and sell their customer base to one of the platformers before they dwindle down to nothing.

  • by s1d3track3D (1504503) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:38PM (#47745079)
    'Free' is not a business model." - Aaron Levie (Dropbox)
    Yes, something music artists know all to well...
    It's a bummer when your on the wrong side of supply and demand aint it?!
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      'Free' is not a business model." - Aaron Levie (Dropbox)
      Yes, something music artists know all to well...

      Even the biggest artists make most of their money from touring, merchandising, and product endorsements,
      In Asia, where large scale commercial piracy is a fact of life, music artists only make money from non-album sales.

      • by Camael (1048726)

        Even the biggest artists make most of their money from touring, merchandising, and product endorsements,
        In Asia, where large scale commercial piracy is a fact of life, music artists only make money from non-album sales.

        This, so much. Unless he is a big name with a sweet record deal, the average musician doesn't really earn much from his record sales [investinganswers.com].

        Every contract is different, but the average high-end royalty deal with a record company will pay musicians $1 for every $10 retail album sale. And it can be a lot worse than that; a low-end royalty deal only pays 30 cents per album sale -- amazingly small for a CD purchase, especially considering that bands may have to divide that among several members.

        Some musicians have alr

  • by cdwiegand (2267) <chris@wiegandfamily.com> on Sunday August 24, 2014 @10:56PM (#47745153) Homepage

    My wife and I just left Dropbox, because paying $20/month for 200 GB of storage (which she just exceeded with our photos from before kids as well as our kids) is crazier than paying $10 for 1 TB of storage. The only feature I miss is the ability to auto-backup our photos to our online storage - Google does some kind of backup to Google+, but that's worthless to me. Dropbox would auto-upload my pictures to a folder, which I really liked. Oh, and IFTTT doesn't seem to work well for us for backing up the photos, seems to take forever and requires tweaking, Dropbox's system Just Worked.

    I understand Dropbox is coming out with some email client, ok, yay, Yet Another Email Client. That is so old and tired. Do something innovative. Now, all this said, if there was an EASY way for me to have Dropbox-like functionality against an S3 endpoint where *I*/AWS runs the box, I'd be game. The options out there suck for users and honestly aren't great for power users either.

    • by bakes (87194)

      Now, all this said, if there was an EASY way for me to have Dropbox-like functionality against an S3 endpoint where *I*/AWS runs the box, I'd be game

      Have a look at owncloud. [owncloud.com]

  • Why is this posted under "Hardware"?
  • DropBox is terrible (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goruka (1721094) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:04PM (#47745183)
    Unlike Google which uses ownership to determine size used, you can run out of space in DropBox by someone sharing you a large folder. DropBox also make is impossible from the web interface to see the sizes or usage of files to make room or clean up. I ended up paying Google for 100gb because their service is simply better.
    • I did not have a good experience with Google Drive, every time I restarted my computer it would re-sync the whole folder. I abandoned it after I noticed it was trying to upload 50GB which would have taken about a day to do.
  • by Bram Stolk (24781) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:38PM (#47745295) Homepage

    It is dropbox for me:
    There is no linux client for Google Drive.
    I think years ago it was supposed to be 'soon'.

  • So DropBox, that's a way to differentiate yourself...hint hint...something that we all want...and will never get.
    • by David Jao (2759)
      Tarsnap [tarsnap.com] offers NSA-proof cloud storage and provides all the source code for all the client programs to back up their claims (in fact the installation is only available in source code form). But it costs way more than the competition.
  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:46PM (#47745343) Homepage

    This article actually points it out: When the big players drop the prices to below cost, it is possible to still compete, by offering add-ons specific to certain types of customers, or better customer service, or in some other way differentiating yourselves from the big players. This applies both when the big guys are Amazon and Google, or when they are Walmart and Home Depot.

  • If they promised not to 'steal' your contents and sell them to someone else or use them to market 'partner' services, or actually have and supply a real secure site. You know at some point Google will alter their ToS to allow them to use anything in their never-ending quest to track everything and everyone that ever touches the web in any manner.

  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:47AM (#47745539)

    Dropbox had a great claim, originally, that your data was secure not even "dropbox" could see it. Well, it turned out that was a lie.

    The bigger issue is privacy protection. If I upload non-public information to one of these services, which one can I trust to keep that private? If there is no clear answer, then price is the only differentiator. Who's going to protect your privacy when presented with an NSL? Answer: no one. After that, who cares?

    I believe that if a storage company wants to stand out and charge a premium, it needs to hire lawyers, a lot of them, to defend the rights of its customers. When you store your data on your property, you are protected by the 4th amendment, the warrant requirement, and the legal right to a defense, when you store your data in the cloud, you have little, if any, protection, and the service provider has no duty to protect your data from government requests.

    Criminals, lawyers, and the general public have the same needs. If you can't protect criminals, you can't protect the general public. Data storage has never been about the bits. It has always been about the meta requirements: security, longevity, recoverability, and yes, cost. The google/amazon threat is about cost, what about the other requirements?

    • by pantaril (1624521)

      Cloud services which use client-side encryption can store your private data securely. Mega.co.nz [mega.co.nz] for example offers 50GB of storage space for free and they have support for linux, windows, mac nad android.

  • by taustin (171655) on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:59AM (#47745575) Homepage Journal

    Free is, indeed, a fine business model when the real purpose of providing cloud storage is to data mine it for targeted advertising, which has always been Google's business model, and is increasingly Amazon's, as well. 95% of Google's revenue is from advertising, and getting you, and me and everyone else, to store all their documents in Google Drive is well worth the cost to increase ad rates. Amazon's business model is a little different, but is getting more and more like Google's lately, with their announcement that they're working on their own ad network to replace Google's.

    Everything that both companies have done lately - and that Google has ever done, has been to stuff that profile database as full as possible on everyone human being on the planet.

  • ...but man, it sucks. Messed up git repositories. Requiring a complete download of all content if you restore to another disk (yes, boys and girls, gdrive actually decided to track files by what fucking inode they were on, instead of doing something rational like checksumming). Self-DOS attack on large uploads, literally sucking up all the bandwidth you have going up, causing all other traffic to stall.

    I'm waiting for Yosemite and iCloud Drive - hopefully they'll do a better job with reasonable rates.

    FYI

  • And i never will store data on anybody who tells me that he does it for free. Either he looses money, or he has something else in mind.

  • I see in Google image storage terms that photos smaller than a certain resolution do not count towards your storage limit. So has anyone stored tons of photos for free there? How much? I tried storing some, but 2000 photos limit per album made it very inconvenient. Appears too good to be true, is it?

    I remember seeing Flickr also allows 1 TB photo + video storage. This too sounds unsustainable if people really use this.

  • by StripedCow (776465) on Monday August 25, 2014 @05:11AM (#47746133)

    Storage is a commodity.
    Now we only need to wake up the telcos and make them realize their product is a commodity too.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:36AM (#47746495) Homepage Journal

    I have a non-profit association which uploaded dozens of videos of repair geeks in several countries on Viddler.com, a "free" video storage back in 2007, 2008. Viddler, like Youtube and Vimeo, was in the video storage space, and had trouble making any money vs. Youtube. First thing they had to do was to drop "source files" in 2010, when all the original quality was lost to make space. Then last April they gave members about a month to either pay up monthly or lose all their videos.

    This was really disturbing and it's my main concern about dropbox. If they suddenly change the price, and we have years of space stored, how realistic is it to download? Viddler did not offer any mass-download, we had to do it file by file. They cut us a break in the end but it would have been very appreciated if the EULA agreements allowed for something other than retroactive storage negotiations. At this point we choose where to put files not just based on monthly price, but the future monthly price and the ease of moving out. The latter is the most important, I'd never put material on the cloud again which took 2 minutes per file to get back off.

  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Monday August 25, 2014 @10:33AM (#47747577)

    Considering that Dropbox has Condi Rice on their Board of Directors, they're in a prime position to target the warmongers market.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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