Tech Industry

Dropbox is like Microsoft in the '90s, says startup's CEO

CEO Drew Houston says the cloud-storage company balances consumer and enterprise much like the Microsoft of yesteryear. At the Disrupt conference, he also talks about why Dropbox needs a new mobile app and why it's not going public anytime soon.

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston
Dan Farber/CNET

Dropbox has continued to grow at a steady, and rapid, pace because of its hold on both consumer and enterprise products, CEO Drew Houston said Monday at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.

He said Dropbox has reached 200 million users, that's up from 175 million in July and 100 million in November.

When asked which company Dropbox emulated, Houston likened his company to the Microsoft of yesteryear. The cloud-storage company has been pushing for growth on its enterprise side, while also courting developers to grow its number of apps and integrations.

"We have that consumer and enterprise kind of crossover," he replied. "Microsoft in the '90s is the company that most comes to mind in having this mass opportunity in both places."

But while Microsoft is a huge, public company, Houston has no interest in joining it in that arena anytime soon. Dropbox was valued at $4 billion last year, and Houston said it still has not spent all the money raised in the last round of funding, which gives the company the flexibility to innovate.

"We're using this time to really stay focused on the product and focused on the company, and maybe at some point we'll go public, but it's really not something we're focused on right now," he said.

What the company is focused on is mobile, Houston said, adding that he thinks Dropbox needs a much different mobile product.

"When we started, it was really this extension of this magic folder that we put on our computer. The mobile app is just a window into your computer...what we're building is a completely different experience," he said.

Houston also said Dropbox is not interested in the media-storage space -- one that's crowded with competitors like iTunes or Google Play for Music -- because it wants to focus on personal files, "the things that you're working on, the photos you take," and not commercial content.