This morning Box released new iPhone and iPad applications, and, as part of the release, is offering 50 GB of free cloud storage to users who download the new apps within the next month. Given that Box’s free tier is 10 gigabytes, the fresh file space is large in comparison. The new apps are live in the App Store now.
The updated applications sport a new user interface, preview support for more than 100 file varieties, commenting and text search, among other upgrades.
What Box has in mind is simple: It wants its mobile applications to be your hub for file storage, file management, and collaboration on the go. This mirrors its efforts on the web to expand its toolset past file storage and up the value stack with applications like BoxNotes that let users edit their stored documents.
Box has aspirations beyond simple storage of your files. Why? If Box can afford to give away 50 gigabytes of free storage, the marginal revenue value of each stored gigabyte is going down. It will soon approach zero. Therefore, if Box wants to grow its revenue per customer and revenue per user, it needs to offer more.
Box makes this point quietly in its blog post announcing the new apps, saying that they are “the best content viewing and collaboration experience available today for your iOS device.” Oh, and they store your files as well.
The Box gambit is pretty simple, I think: Store more of your files so that you become entrenched in its platform, at which point it can upsell you services and other solutions. This is similar to the days in which PCs sold with hard drive space, and Microsoft sold you Office to manage those stored documents.