There’s no doubt that Dropbox Paper is a sleek collaborative document editor but it has one major problem that no amount of new features or product improvements can fix. Why’s that? Because the problem isn’t with Paper — it’s that Dropbox doesn’t have its own version of Google Apps.

Dropbox Paper dashboard.
Dropbox Paper dashboard.

As much as I (and probably millions of others) wish it weren’t so, email is still at the center of [business] communications. The reason we use Google Drive over Dropbox at KYA (my analytics startup) is because Google Drive integrates seamlessly with our email (which is hosted by Google Apps). I can easily send/share documents hosted in the KYA Google Drive account in my email with a single click, I can create files that can be easily accessible to others in the KYA network, and I can also quickly save documents in my email to Google Drive with a single click.

Because of the tight integration it’s unlikely I’d ever leave that ecosystem, unless of course, a better ecosystem came along that I liked. The point is, I (and most companies) don’t want to have to mix and match services if one offering can provide a complete solution that works well. It gets way too complicated otherwise.

This is why I’m truly surprised Dropbox hasn’t built a Google Apps competitor yet. Seriously, Dropbox CEO, Drew Houston recently reiterated that they are focused on getting more business customers and that Dropbox isn’t just a consumer product — so why not take on the big G?

Dropbox already has the core offering solidified. It has a great file storage and sync solution, now it has an excellent document editor with Paper, and on top of all that, remember how Dropbox acquired the email app Mailbox back in 2013? Yeah, so it has an email client that its been working to bring to more platforms and a [Mailbox] team that understands the innards of maintaining email servers.

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I don’t know, it just seems like a no-brainer for Dropbox to build a Google Apps competitor. If they want to truly compete with other services like Box and Google Drive I think it just makes sense.


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