Cloud

Box CEO Aaron Levie: After WWDC today, Microsoft lags far behind Apple

Above: Box chief Aaron Levie at WWDC 14.

Image Credit: Richard Byrne Reilly

Box chief Aaron Levie had harsh words for Microsoft at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference Monday.

“Microsoft,” he said, “has a lot of catching up to do.”

The ubiquitous Levie, with his mop of unruly hair, contrasted Microsoft’s offerings with Apple’s intensely hyped launch of new products, operating systems, and apps. Apple unveiled its cavalcade of features today at WWDC to a packed house of 6,000 guests — mostly developers — at the Moscone Center.

Among the announcements: Apple unveiled its new OS X Yosemite larded with new and intuitive features like a more translucent, iPhone-like look, an overhauled Apple Mail program, integration with iOS 8, and comprehensive updates to Safari and iCloud. Apple also announced encryption features in both its email and online file storage features.

Levie is a hardcore Apple fan. In fact, a predominant percentage of Box’s 25 million customers — and the 200,000 company’s using his secure cloud document sharing platform — are Apple hardware users, he says. His disdain for the Seattle technology behemoth was subtle but obvious.

“We’ve been developing on iOS platforms basically since day one. For six years now, we’ve been building for iPhone, and for four years we’ve been building iPad applications,” he said.

He smiled knowingly, like somebody whose company will soon IPO. Box filed its S-1 paperwork with the SEC in March, a precursor to such a move. The company later delayed its IPO plans, but could go public as early as this month.

“All of our customers are using Apple devices to store, share, manage and access their content from anywhere. We think it’s a critical platform for our business,” Levie said.

For the friendly and intense Levie, Apple’s OS X Yosemite is a true game changer, a glaring and welcome contrast to Microsoft’s stultifying Windows OS.

On Monday, Levie said, Apple came out swinging.

“As somebody in this industry, we’ve got to a point of thinking that innovation in the operating system world is declining,” Levie said. “All of the new features and functionality you get in an OS, today changed all that.”

He’s right. Apple’s Yosemite has been supercharged. Caller ID on your MacBook and iPad is now standard. You can now make phonecalls from both devices. Siri’s presence is enhanced and nearly everywhere. Users can share files of up to 5 gigabytes free. And iCloud is now accessible on all Apple devices.

Sitting on the second floor of Moscone Center during an impromptu interview, Levie said that with the new Apple Extensions, apps can now “expose functionality” into other services. In other words, seamless sharing from one app to another.

For Levie, Apple Extensions means that users can you can move data between applications easily. Previous to this, a large gap existed within the mobile ecosystem. Now, instead of having each of your apps keeping data from one another via virtual “moats,” they can now share data more easily.

This is big news for Box. Documents taken from the Box platform can now be opened in a note-taking app or annotation tool, and work on that content can then be saved back to Box. Levie said as of now, this attribute is totally unique to the new iOS.

“This,” he said, “is going to be really powerful set of capabilities. And it’s going to give Apple a massive advantage.”

“If you think about Apple being in a war with Microsoft and Google, of who can build the better set of capabilities for developers, Apple just leapfrogged over everybody,” Levie said.

More about the companies and people from this article:

Box was founded on a simple, powerful idea: it should be easy for people to access, collaborate, and share all their content, wherever they are. Co-founders Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith, along with our fast-growing team, have since esta... read more »

Aaron Levie co-founded Box with friend and Box CFO Dylan Smith in 2005. The Box mission is to provide businesses and individuals with the simplest solution to share, access and manage their information. Aaron is the visionary behind Bo... read more »

Powered by VBProfiles


Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.53.56 AMOur upcoming GrowthBeat event — August 5-6 in San Francisco — is exploring the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the scoop here, and grab your tickets before they're gone!  
38 comments
Walter Riggs
Walter Riggs

Laughable... Microsoft products and coders are busy enabling businesses to do their business.

Daniel Svensson
Daniel Svensson

Maybe when Swift is on version 2, but for now they're a decade behind C#.

Danny Liggins
Danny Liggins

Apple just leaped frog over everybody don't think so

Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy

With due respect, Box way behind Microsoft One Drive for cloud

Gordon Van Huizen
Gordon Van Huizen

Aaron Levie is often right. And not in ways that are immediately obvious.

Moejii Osman
Moejii Osman

At least 80% of the shit apple introduced at wwdc is and was on Android and Windows FOR YEARS! Just read All the tech blogs, apple introduced nothing "innovative" other then maybe a few notification upgrades here and there in iOS.

Moejii Osman
Moejii Osman

Micro$oft made $80billion last financial year right? That's just off software... What should they make?... $200billion a quarter? Lol kids an idiot

Badd Syntaxx
Badd Syntaxx

but he forget that microsoft owns part of apple corporation.. :)

Kevin Jun Zeng Chan
Kevin Jun Zeng Chan

My two cents: He's happy that Apple is going for Dropbox with iCloud Drive and that lessens the focus Dropbox can put on the enterprise space.

Ben Garlock
Ben Garlock

And what have you built again Aaron?

Jason Brock
Jason Brock

Agreed there is some cool stuff. My point was this guy exaggerated just a bit!

Chung Yang
Chung Yang

Windows can't do auto proximity detection between devices. It doesn't have the support in the OS layer, nor standardization of lower power bluetooth component in the hardware reference design. You need to be a fully vertically integrated company to do what Apple is aiming to do right now.

Anshul Dayal
Anshul Dayal

Windows can probably do most of these things but hell it's 10x harder in typically windows way.

Liza V. Pantschenko
Liza V. Pantschenko

When I get a Google voice call my desktop (MacPro), iPad, Nexus 5, iPod touch, and landlines all ring.

Oridota Bd Cool Oyebode
Oridota Bd Cool Oyebode

I don't agree. . Maybe the windows phone 8 is far behind apple, but not the windows phone 8.1: we basically made the world a better place.

Nelson Saenz
Nelson Saenz

I love how Apple fanboys always proclaim the demise of a company with multiple profitable billion dollar businesses. That Apple Kool Aid is potent for sure.

Gene Warren
Gene Warren

In other news, zombie outbreak at WWDC claims Box CEO Aaron Levie #whitebalance #badfilterchoices

Ashish Shah
Ashish Shah

At one point in time VentureBeat covered more than just Apple fanboys. Unfollowed!

Jason Brock
Jason Brock

I give them props for the call features on MAC OS X, but hell almost everything else is something windows can already do.

Cameron Crockatt
Cameron Crockatt

Android has the ability to share data through Content Providers and that has been a long-standing capability.  He may have his facts straight for Apple but I don't think he's fully aware of the competitive landscape.

Jhon Lagos
Jhon Lagos

He says that because Microsoft won't lock him out of their system, like Apple did with many developers in their closed walled garden.

Jason Joyner
Jason Joyner

Apparently he didn't notice most of these "new" features have been in Windows 8 since day 1.  And if his customer base is primarily Apple hardware users, I'd be very worried about the iCloud enhancements that directly compete with him.  Apple users tend to use Apple's solutions over third-party ones.

Stewart Ferrell
Stewart Ferrell

How could someone who is in the tech industry say that anything Apple announced today is ahead of anything else out already. His own company has software that does two of the things that Apple is putting out as "new". Next time just quietly give Tim Cook a reach around and spare us your personal ass-kissing diatribe.

dfsfsd gfdsgfsdfsd
dfsfsd gfdsgfsdfsd

How is this guy ubiquitous, is he everywhere all the time. who wrote this pos article. Second Box has delayed their IPO cause they don't make money. Third he directly competes with onedrive for business customers so he is kind of a biased estimator. finally he is an ugly mofo, his face looks like a vag.

Jamison K
Jamison K

Apple is awesome, says the dude whose entire loaf of bread is buttered by Apple. 

John Molloy
John Molloy

You forgot that Microsoft's 150 million investment was sold off for about 1 billion many years ago.

Jason Joyner
Jason Joyner

Microsoft however couldn't care less about the new iCloud being a threat to oneDrive.  iCloud runs on Microsoft's Azure platform last I read.  He may hate Microsoft, but it might be a good idea for him to actually keep tabs on what they are doing.  Microsoft is much bigger than Box; one wrong move and he could be wiped out by a much bigger competitor with scale like Microsoft's oneDrive or Apple's iCloud.