Dropbox Buys Startup Mailbox

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Popular Mailbox, email app joins up with Dropbox

Online storage firm Dropbox said on Friday it has acquired Mailbox, a smartphone email application that launched in February to a warm reception from users of the iPhone, the only platform on which it is currently available.

Mailbox offers users tools designed to make emails easier to manage, a theme that received such a strong response that the company was obliged to limit subscriptions with a reservations system, to help maintain quality of service.

Email triage

The company has about 1.3 million people on its waiting list and says it is already handling some 60 million emails per day for about 750,000 users. Dropbox, by comparison, has some 100 million users and 250 employees.

“Like many of you, when we discovered Mailbox we fell in love – it was simple, delightful, and beautifully engineered,” wrote Dropbox co-founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi in a blog post announcing the acquisition. “Many have promised to help us with our overflowing inboxes, but the Mailbox team actually delivered.”

dropbox-ico-100004576-largeMailbox’s developers said the acquisition will help it scale to meet demand, and to roll out to other platforms. Currently the application works with the iPhone and Gmail.

“Rather than grow Mailbox on our own, we’ve decided to join forces with Dropbox and build it out together,” the Mailbox team wrote in a blog post, which also suggested that Mailbox is planning to integrate Dropbox features.

Rapid expansion

Mailbox’s tools are designed to help users sort incoming email, with actions including archiving, deleting or filing messages, or “snoozing” them so that they will reappear at a later time.

Orchestra, Mailbox’s parent company, reportedly received some $5.3 million (£3.5m) funding in 2011, and while terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, reports from websites including GigaOM and TechCrunch indicated Dropbox paid well over $50m, beating out larger companies interested in buying the startup.

Dropbox has been expanding recently, adding collaboration features and opening a Dublin office in December.

Last summer the company added two-factor authentication for its users after user accounts were reportedly hacked to spread spam.

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