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Apple iWatch, Square IPO: 10 Tech Predictions For 2014 (Update 1)

Dropbox, Box IPO's Flop

Judging by my predicitions, 2014 seems to be more about private companies than public ones, and this prediction is no different.

Dropbox and Box, both based in Silicon Valley, serve a very important market, allowing customers to store and share their photos, documents and videos in the cloud, and then bring them anywhere they go.

Both offer free storage to their users, with Dropbox starting at 2GB and Box offering 5GB worth of storage, but document sharing is a commodity, and ultimately, a utility. Apple offers its own services, iCloud, and actually tried to buy Dropbox in 2009, before being rebuffed. Google, Microsoft (MSFT) and others also offer free file hosting and sharing services.

Though revenue growth for either company isn't public, it's thought that Dropbox did $240 million in 2011, and Forbes reported Box did around $70 million in 2012. Dropbox offers three types of accounts: Free, Pro, and Teams, which is offered toward businesses. Dropbox allows users to store 2 GB of data for free, all the way up to 18 GB if you refer other users. The Pro plan starts at $9.99 per month for 100 GB worth of storage, and increases from there.

These aren't huge numbers, and the growth rates aren't known, but I suspect three to six months out from their initial public offerings, investors will be looking very differently at these companies than they did prior to their IPO's, largely because it's pretty difficult to tell one service from another.

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