Box Off The Deep End...

Box touts itself as the best cloud-sharing provider for enterprise, and they certainly have an interesting way of showing it; by setting their price as the highest. Sure they may appeal to imprudent users who are convinced that most expensive is undoubtedly the best. The truth is, when a provider gouges their larger users to make up for lost consumer revenue, they lose ability to call themselves the best for enterprise.

Their enterprise service pricing was not previously published; had you looked a week ago the page would have read “contact sales.” So for the past few years we have been using their business price of $180/user/year to compare with our $6/user/year. Well now, a mere month after collecting $100 million in funding atop their existing $309 million, Box has made their enterprise pricing public; and it truly is a spectacle.

We cannot say with certainty whether they decided to finally list this price in an attempt to show off a recent reduction, or to compete with Dropbox’s inexistent enterprise service. We are going to go with the latter, as it is simply ludicrous to imagine that an enterprise would spend more than $420/user/year for a service that is by no means unique to its many, more realistically priced competitors.

It will be quite interesting to see the result now that this price has been published, as enterprise users compare with other cloud providers. Even Dropbox’s appalling $125/user/year business price is looking attractive when matched up to this outrageous figure Box execs call “competitive pricing.” The hard truth both these providers are going to have to face is that they cannot compete on a consumer level with wealthy competitors like Google and Microsoft. And then when they have to gouge their enterprise users to justify the deals extended to their consumers, they will lose that market too.

The true question that still remains at this point is how, at such an insane price, did Box establish the reputation of a service designed for enterprises in the first place? In addition to a price that is listed more than fifty times that of DriveHQ, Box possesses a number of limitations that we feel could present frequent issues with larger, true enterprise accounts. One such limitation is a folder size restriction to a measly 40,000 files; while consumer and small businesses will pay this no mind, large enterprises can have upwards of a million files in a single folder, which would mean making 25,000+ separate folders for Box. Frankly, if I’m paying $420/year for each of my users, I want a service that is going to require the absolute least amount of effort from me. It also limits the monthly bandwidth to 2TB; if you grow your business and need more than 2TB, you will be forced to upgrade to their enterprise service, your total cost will jump to the price that has been listed.

In short, there is simply no logical explanation to give reason for the price Box currently has listed under Enterprise Service. The genius’ who strategized this will have to formulate a more attractive plan for enterprises, else Box will suffer the loss of its predominant target market; leaving the users to be picked up by a provider who will give them the lowest user price, and most powerful group management/collaboration solutions available.