Dropbox acquires iOS photo app Loom, will fold into Carousel next month

Only a week after the cloud storage company announced the launch of its photo application Carousel, Dropbox has acquired a small -- yet powerful -- competitor to bolster its snapshot-storing efforts.

Nick Statt Former Staff Reporter / News
Nick Statt was a staff reporter for CNET News covering Microsoft, gaming, and technology you sometimes wear. He previously wrote for ReadWrite, was a news associate at the social-news app Flipboard, and his work has appeared in Popular Science and Newsweek. When not complaining about Bay Area bagel quality, he can be found spending a questionable amount of time contemplating his relationship with video games.
Nick Statt
3 min read


Dropbox, the cloud storage company that has been slowly building a robust consumer app suite including email management tool Mailbox, has made another fruitful acquisition Thursday, scooping up popular iOS photo app Loom for an undisclosed sum.

Dropbox will migrate Loom's user base over to its recently released Carousel app by May 16, and will then shut Loom down. As of today, Loom is no longer accepting new users. The eight-person team, which worked out of San Francisco and Germany, will join Dropbox to work on Carousel.

"We know this is a big deal. This decision was made with great care. We have worked hard on our product and feel that our vision aligns perfectly with Dropbox's vision for Carousel. Dropbox has invested the past seven years focusing on building a secure home for your files. And now with Carousel comes a home for your photos and videos as well," Loom co-founder Jan Senderek wrote on the company's Web site.

To quell user frustration at seeing a dedicated and well-functioning app get swallowed by a larger entity, the two companies will offer users who join Carousel the same storage quota they paid for with Loom for an entire year for free. Loom's pricing -- at 5GB free, 50GB for $49.99, and 100GB for $99.99 -- was only slightly cheaper than Dropox's general storage costs.

Migrating one's files from Loom to Carousel will have to be done manually by users, but Dropbox is setting up a smooth export process with detailed instructions, Senderek said.

Carousel, Dropbox's answer to its growing photo storage problem, works very much the same way Loom did. By storing photos in the cloud and charging users a subscription fee for storage, both apps allow people to snap photos and not worry about how much room those photos were taking up on the smartphone. But Loom didn't decide to join Dropbox simple because of its larger consumer base.

"After spending some serious time investigating if this was the right move for us, we realized that Dropbox has solved many problems around scaling infrastructure," Senderek explained. In other words, Carousel can do it better.

With Loom, users had full-size photo files stored in the cloud and thumbnails stored on their phone for viewing. With Carousel, that's not needed. All photos instantaneously sync across devices and are accessible in the cloud, taking up zero storage on your mobile device.

With its acquisitions, Dropbox isn't just picking off talent and shuttering competitors. It's turned app visionaries like Mailbox co-founder Gentry Underwood into not only internal design leaders -- Carousel looks very much like Mailbox's brother -- but also well-respected brand ambassadors for what is turning into less a cloud storage company and more an app and service platform.

And Dropbox CEO Drew Houston isn't slowing down in the company's run-up to a much-anticipated initial public offering. With more than $1.1 billion in lifetime funding, Dropbox has continued its spree by picking up social reading app ReadMill late last month, and also acquired collaborative document company Hackpad, which closely aligns with the company's recently announced Project Harmony that puts Dropbox collaboration into Microsoft Office apps.