Aaron Levie

Was there something traumatic about Aaron Levie’s childhood that caused an intense dislike of Microsoft? The founder of the Silicon Valley online storage service Box attended Mercer Island High School, just a few miles from Microsoft’s sprawling Redmond campus.

But there’s no hometown pride when it comes to Microsoft, a company that Levie has routinely criticized throughout his career as slow and stodgy. Take, for instance, remarks that Levie made in The New York Times’ Bits blog today in which he announced the release of a new service called OneCloud that’s designed to manage mobile devices and applications across an enterprise. Partners include Adobe EchoSign, Nuance PaperPort Notes, DocuSign, CallTrunk, QuickOffice, PDF Expert, with the OneCloud service currently available for iOS with Android coming soon.

The Times correctly notes that Microsoft Windows is “noticeably absent” from the list. And Levie takes the dialogue a step further in the Palo Alto, California company’s press release when he says: “Box OneCloud unifies your business applications across devices to power enterprise productivity in the post-PC era. We’re fueling the engine of mobile innovation, making enterprise workers more informed, agile and productive.”

The release then notes that the device share for Windows will fall below 50 percent by 2016, “pressing CIOs to update device and security policies to ensure employees are productive and their data is safe.”

Quentin Hardy of the Times writes that this is what is effectively known in the industry as “mooning the giant,” a practice of taking aim at a bigger rival. And Levie — as you may recall — has done it before.

When the company raised its $81 million venture round last fall, Levie had this to say:

“Businesses of all sizes are moving their information and collaboration to the cloud, and with this new capital we’ll support their transition by continuing to aggressively out-innovate legacy players like Microsoft.”


Of course, as Hardy notes, Microsoft is putting a lot of horsepower right now to make sure it doesn’t miss out on the new era of computing. And Levie tells the Times that he’s not averse to utilizing Microsoft products when it make sense.

Asked about the upcoming release of Windows 8, Levie told The Times: “I promise you, the second Windows 8 has a meaningful amount of market share, we will build for them.”

Previously on GeekWireBox.net: A case study in why Seattle needs to hold onto young tech talent

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  • http://www.joshuamaher.com/ Joshua Maher

    Interesting that Aaron and Box are skipping Salesforce.com as well – apparently they are not seeing the value to their customers in establishing a partnership there…

    • Guest

      Maybe there isn’t enough room for both Aaron’s ego and Beniof’s ;-)

  • Peter H

    The original giant-mooners were Crossgain.  http://www.businessweek.com/2001/01_06/b3718158.htm

    Welcome, Box, to the club.

  • Guest

    “we’ll support their transition by continuing to aggressively out-innovate legacy players like Microsoft”

    Pretty accurate, isn’t it? Most people have been out-innovating MS for a decade. Guys like Aaron just aren’t afraid to say it out loud anymore.

  • guest

    Yeah, that’s a good one, though I prefer Levie’s tweet earlier this week in response to rumors about Google’s upcoming G Drive cloud storage product: “I  sure hope G Drive isn’t as successful as Google Wallet, Google Plus, Google Health, Google TV, or Google Wave.”

    • Guest

      Three years from now, when Big G or Big M buy his company out, he’ll be saying his comments were taken out of context and he’s always had the greatest respect for both companies and their leadership and looks forward to joining them and working with such smart people (well, at least for the 1-2 year minimum required under the buyout terms).

  • Edmojo

    has rapidly gained proficiency at writing cheesy press releases with a bunch of
    meaningless jargon that makes all competition quake in thier boots – “”Box OneCloud unifies your business applications
    across devices to power enterprise productivity (blah) in the post-PC era
    (blah,blah). We’re fueling the engine of mobile innovation (blah,blah, blah), making enterprise
    workers more informed, agile and productive. (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,…)”

  • Guest

    Arrogance is never an effective business strategy

    • Guest

      Well, except for Jobs at Apple, Beniof at Salesforce, Ellison at Oracle…

  • Anonymous

    He’s just pitching for the next David Fincher / Aaron Sorkin project.

  • http://twitter.com/jclaussftw Jason Gerard Clauss

    Normally I roll my eyes at this type of thing but Microsoft needs a wake-up call bigtime. I see glimpses of hope but mostly utter confusion.

    • Guest

      What they need is a new CEO and board. The current crew has missed dozens of wake up calls since 2000, not the least of which is MS being surpassed in revenue, profit and market cap by Apple, a company that back then had barely avoided bankruptcy and was a fraction of MS’s size.

      • http://twitter.com/jclaussftw Jason Gerard Clauss

        Well yeah. Ballmer is a punk. They flubbed the Flight Simulator franchise. They flubbed Flight. They flubbed the Kin (it was, itself, a flub). Windows Phone 7 is actually a decent product and they could still flub it.

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