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Box, Microsoft fight back against Google Drive

After years of waiting, Google finally launched Google Drive this week.

Naturally, Google’s entry into the online storage market raised questions about some of the companies that have established themselves in the space, such as Dropbox. Will Google make it harder for them to grow and thrive, or will it fail to gain traction?

We’ll find out soon enough, but in the meantime, Google’s new competitors large and small are responding.

One of those competitors, Box, isn’t sure that Google has what it takes. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Aaron Levie, basically suggested as much in a blog post entitled When Elephants Attack. According to Levie, Box’s enterprise focus is the key to the company’s success and that will keep it in good stead.

But that doesn’t mean that Box isn’t trying to make things more difficult for Google. Today, it announced “major enhancements” to its Box Platform, including a brand new API that the company says “makes it even easier for partners and developers to build products and services that integrate with Box.” It also unveiled new tools for developers, including an Instant Mode feature that allows developers to automatically create Box accounts that are tied to their apps.

According to Chris Yeh, Box’s VP of Platform, Box knows it can’t build everything its customer needs, so it’s making sure that its platform offers enough “glue” to make sure third party tools can be used with the company’s solution.

That approach appears to mirror the one Microsoft is taking. The Redmond-based software giant today published a blog post highlighting the APIs and SDKs for its SkyDrive offering.

“Given our recent announcements, we wanted to reiterate how developers can integrate SkyDrive into their apps and devices, showcase a few of our favorite integrations and let people know about a few developer events we are sponsoring in Amsterdam, NYC and Las Vegas,” Microsoft’s Dare Obasanjo wrote. The timing of this post, of course, is not coincidental.

The platform strategies being employed by Box and Microsoft seem sensible. Google Drive has a collection of APIs, but they’re very limited right now. While that will almost certainly change over time, the question is whether Google can move fast enough to disrupt the developer ecosystems that competitors like Dropbox, Box and Microsoft have established and are trying to solidify. If the announcements by Box and Microsoft are any indication, Google Drive’s competition thinks Google Drive is most vulnerable in this area.

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