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Dropbox spurned Steve Jobs' advances

It's one of the web's hottest startups, but Dropbox could've been Apple property, had the founders not turned down Steve Jobs himself.

You're in your mid-twenties, and your internet startup is starting to take off. Then one day none other than Steve Jobs calls you for a meeting, and you know you're about to hit the big time.

Most people in that position would hear Jobs out, then shake his hand and ask where to sign, dollar signs in their eyes. But not the founders of Dropbox, reports AllThingsD.

The meeting took place in 2009, according to a profile of the media sharing company in the new issue of Forbes. Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowski were summoned to a meeting with Jobs. Seeing Jobs wanted to incorporate the company into Apple, much as it did with the voice-controlled Siri, Houston then cut short Apple's CEO.

Undeterred, Jobs told the duo he was after their market, describing Dropbox as "a feature, not a product." Jobs talked to them about his return to Apple and why not to trust investors, then suggested a follow-up meeting. In the months that followed he went quiet however, only to later single out Dropbox for criticism in his June keynote on iCloud.

Houston dashed off an email to staff telling them that while their company was one of the fastest-growing in the world, plenty had fallen from on high, listing MySpace, Netscape, Palm and Yahoo.

The snub doesn't seem to have harmed the company, which is set to make $240m (£152m) in sales this year, even though the vast majority of its 50m users don't pay to use it. It also recently secured $250m of funding from Benchmark Capital and Goldman Sachs, among others. Houston's stake, about 15 per cent of the equity, should be worth about $600m (£381m).

Not too shabby for a youngster who didn't even let Steve Jobs finish his pitch.