Box builds out platform with first standalone service Box View

Box, after announcing IPO plans, hosts its first developer conference and unveils a new standalone service to attract more customers.

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
2 min read

Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie at Box Dev 2014. Nick Statt/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO -- On the heels of its IPO announcement earlier this week, cloud storage and collaboration company Box announced its first standalone service, document app Box View, alongside a series of new platform features at its first ever Box Dev conference at the Fort Mason Center here Wednesday.

Box View is in essence a way to convert any PDF or Microsoft Office document into an embeddable HTML5 file that can be shared anywhere.

"For the first time, you can take a Box API and extend it to your app even if you're not storing that data in Box," CEO Aaron Levie said.

Box View Box Inc.

Developers can also build on top of Box View, creating custom document viewers for Web and mobile. To facilitate that, Box is also open sourcing aspects of View, releasing on GitHub viewer.js that allows the construction of custom animations and analytic tools for custom documents.

The service will be have a free standard tier allowing 1,000 document conversions a month. For $250 a month, businesses can use a custom viewer for up to 2,500 document conversions, while a custom pricing plan can be negotiated for large enterprise customers for more than 10,000 document conversions.

Box also opened up Metadata, its developer tool for attaching customizable data to stored files, unveiled at BoxWorks 2013, from a private beta to an open access one available to all developers.

In between the healthy amount of platform and service announcements, Levie made sure to inject his infamous off-the-cuff humor and snarky asides while scoping out the horizon of the cloud market to the crowd stacked at the far end of the waterside Fort Mason warehouse.

To the sound of Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" -- yes, really -- the often tongue-in-cheek 29-year-old CEO initially took the stage to kickoff the keynote and draw a remarkably big picture narrative about future of the cloud market.

"We are at the center of the greatest shift in business that has ever occurred," Levie said. "Every job is becoming software-enabled, every industry digitized." That was, however, after Levie showcased an early photo of the Box team -- Levie with flowing curls -- alongside a chart illustrating the inverse relationship between one's hair size to sales, finishing it off with a photo of Steve Ballmer.

On the subject of figures, Box announced that its platform now has 35,000 developers, with more than 1,000 partners in its OneCloud mobile app ecosystem. Over the last year, the company says its third-party usage increased by 292 percent.

Its IPO is slated for next month on the New York York Stock Exchange, with Box seeking to raise $250 million at a valuation likely far higher than the $2 billion amount quoted late last year in the company's final round of funding. Share pricing details are currently pending.