Freetimers Blog » Internet News

Dropbox’s Market Dominance Challenged

Cloud computing services that work to organise files and documents between various devices are fast rising to become a major market force. Dropbox is the first major market leader of the sector. Since 2010, when its users numbered a reasonably impressive 5m, the industry has boomed, and Dropbox now has 175m users.

Two years ago there were few serious competitors; Apple’s MobileMe flopped on launch, and Google’s much speculated-upon GDrive was seemingly abandoned. Now, however, Dropbox is being attacked on all sides as more increasing numbers of consumers are storing music and photos on cloud services. A US survey late last year found that back-up or storage services had been used by 14% of online adults, with Dropbox the most popular, claiming more than a quarter of the market, closely followed by Apple’s iCloud.

By prompting to sign in when they buy an iPhone or iPad, Apple has raised iCloud’s user total to 300m. The recently released Goole Drive and Microsoft Skydrive services – the latter of which has 200m users – both boast more storage space than Dropbox. Kim Dotcom, former head of the recently closed down Megaupload website, has already succeeded in winning 3m users for his new service, Mega.

As home usage of cloud storage has grown, so has its usage in business. Companies such as Box and Huddle are competing with claims of better security and more controls for IT managers, targeting different markets to the companies mentioned above.

“We are forecasting to grow over 100 per cent this year,” says Alastair Mitchell, Huddle’s chief executive. “It’s a fast-growing space.”  Within enterprise cloud services, just 1-2 per cent of the $25bn software market has moved into the cloud, Mr Mitchell says, offering plenty of room for growth.

“We are still in the very, very early stages of enterprise adoption of these tools,” says Aaron Levie, Box’s chief executive. “Every new device category is an accelerant to our growth rate. It is forcing IT buyers to think about what is the next generation of their IT strategy.”

Dropbox has gained a foothold in this sector as well, surpassing specialists like Huddle and Box for sheer number of business customers. Yet the question posed of it to Dropbox founder Drew Houston by the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs looms large: is Dropbox a feature or a product?

All of Apple, Google and Microsoft tend to embed cloud storage and its cost in larger products rather than selling it as a standalone service. Huddle, which added cloud storage to its online collaboration tools for business teams and partners, appears to be moving towards the same approach. Dropbox, in response to this, is also diversifying its range of products and services. It reportedly paid $100m in March for the email app Mailbox, which had launched a month earlier to rave reviews from technology blogs. Mailbox offers a simple media player and photo viewer for mobile devices. As well as refining its virtues as a product, Dropbox is equally ensuring that it remains a popular feature, partnering with applications such as Yahoo Mail which cannot creat cloud storage solutions of their own.

“There is not much loyalty” between cloud services, says Mr Mitchell of Huddle, which has users in more than 100,000 organisations worldwide. “Many people use all of them and they are all broadly similar.” Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett is upbeat on Dropbox’s prospects for winning over developers, citing its fast growth and easy-to-use tools for developers. “The combination makes Dropbox a company to watch and a potential market disrupter,” he says.

Customer control: E-commerce shoppers expect consistency

‘Omni-channel’ retailers perform best when they put their customers in control of shaping their e-commerce operations, according to a report from Aberdeen Group.


The business analyst explains that brands with a presence online and in bricks-and-mortar stores need to be able to offer a consistent customer experience across all channels.


Report author Chris Cunnane adds: “This doesn’t mean that the customer expects every touch-point to look and feel exactly the same across all channels.


“But it does mean that the customer expects a consistent brand experience regardless of how or where they interact with a retailer.”


Although the report speaks of putting the customer in the driving seat, what many B2C shoppers and B2B clients are looking for is simply a consistent brand experience.


This means developing an e-commerce site that suits existing real-world operations, whether it is a simple online catalogue or a fully featured database-driven payments-processing site.


Once in place, your new site can be promoted with branded, on-theme messages both online and offline, helping to increase your brand recognition and awareness among your target customers.


And all of this, taken together, means your website should come to be viewed not as an add-on to your existing bricks-and-mortar operations, but as an equal and complementary part of your omni-channel organisation.


To find out more, contact Freetimers on 01604 638421 to see how they can help your with your e-commerce website


The Rise of Google Chrome

Google’s Chrome browser – which turns 5 years old as of next month – has captured a substantial share of the market from its older competitors. It can now lay claim to 43% of the internet traffic generated by desktop computers worldwide. When Chrome was , Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) was the market leader with a share of 68%—it is has now fallen to only 25%.

Mosaic, the first browser capable of displaying words and images on a single page, was designed just 20 years ago. As the internet began its soon-to-be astronomical rise in 1994, some of its developers launched an improved version called Netscape. But when Microsoft began including IE with its Windows operating system, Netscape’s prominence took a huge blow. Such was the proliferation of IE and other Microsoft products that in 2000 an American court began to consider the prospect of splitting the company into two.

Alternative browsers such as Mozilla Firefox were already gaining traction in 2010 when the European Commission ruled that Microsoft would have to offer users a choice of browsers. Since then, Firefox has begun to fall into the shadow of Chrome. There are many, often conflicting measures of market share for web browsers. Microsoft itself claims that Internet Explorer’s current net market share stands at 56.5% (which is itself a far cry from recent highs such as 2008’s 78.42% share, measured by the same metric). One source shows that IE is still in front in terms of numbers of visitors to websites. But for e-commerce, share of traffic matters more. By this measure Chrome is currently leading in a large proportion of countries. World domination beckons.

To find out more about Google Chrome, contact Freetimers  on 01604 638421.

Ecommerce Websites to Maximise the Opportunity for Success

Ecommerce and selling products online can bring numerous advantages.

Firstly, ecommerce websites allow companies to showcase their products to millions of website visitors. Ecommerce sites can also cost much less to run and manage compared with a “bricks and mortar”. In fact, an ecommerce website can become your own shop front or an added entrance to your store and business.

Yet with ecommerce being an increasingly popular way of selling, there are now many ways to sell online, across a range of devices, and ecommerce operations need to adapt to keep up with their competition and to maximise their returns.

Products can not only be placed on a company’s own website, they can be sold on popular ecommerce portal sites such as Amazon, Ebay, Play and Google Shopping, which are optimised for mobiles and other devices, which helps to expand the reach of potential customers, whether it’s business to business, or direct to the public.

It must be said that selling through various channels can cause complications, especially if you do choose to sell through each of them, mainly because managing products and pricing for each channel can be particularly time consuming. However, Freetimers do not just build successful ecommerce websites optimised for a wide range of devices; we also make sure it’s easy to manage, potentially with a customisable multi channel solution, so details for all ecommerce channels can be changed in an instance, and specifically for each channel.

To sell your products the right way, and maximise your return on investment (ROI), get in touch with Freetimers today on 01604-638421.


Effective use of Technology Key to Competitiveness this decade

One of our Directors recently found this write up by the Information Technology Telecommunications and
Electronics Association on their website:

“Intellect strongly believes that the effective
exploitation of technology is critical to the UK achieving robust
and sustainable economic growth in the future. If the UK is to
compete in an increasingly competitive global economy, it must be at
the forefront of exploiting technology to accelerate productivity
growth and unleash innovation.

The global economy in the rest of this decade will be much less
benign than it was in the long period of demand-led expansion that
ended in 2007/8. As over indebted developed countries and emerging
new economies struggle to grow in a demand constrained world the
race for global competitiveness will become much more intense.
Competitiveness is determined by a range of factors, but perhaps the
most fundamental in the 21st century global digital economy is the
ability to make efficient and effective use of technology to drive
innovation and accelerate productivity growth – what we term in this
report tech-excellence.”

Their conclusions are very similar to ours in our blog from a year ago: Website Programming is a Key to Future Internet Competitiveness.    Have a read; it’s important stuff!

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