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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.”

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