Dropbox basically decimates workforce, COO logs off: Cloud biz promises to be 'more efficient and nimble'

CEO says he is 'truly sorry for painful but necessary' cuts


Dropbox is close to decimating its workforce, firing 11 per cent of staff in an effort to become “a more efficient and nimble” company, its CEO announced on Wednesday.

In a blog post, Drew Houston said the decision to sack 315 workers was “one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in my 14 years as CEO,” and that he was “truly sorry,” but that the decision was necessary for the company’s long-term goals. The company’s COO is also leaving.

Given that Dropbox’s entire business revolves around allowing other companies to remotely share information and collaborate - something that should mean boon times during a global pandemic where tens of millions of employees are now working from home - the market was not impressed. Dropbox shares fell more than six per cent before recovering slightly to 5.4 per cent down at the time of writing.

working from home family

Don't forget to brush your teeth, WFH staff told as Dropbox drops the office, declares itself 'virtual first'

READ MORE

It probably didn’t help that Houston argued that Dropbox needed to “make changes in order to create a healthy and thriving business for the future,” - which doesn’t sound much like a booming company.

Houston promised employees in the early days of the pandemic that Dropbox would not fire anybody in 2020 - a promise he kept to. But less than two weeks into 2021, clearly the company felt that promise wasn’t sustainable until the effective end of the pandemic - thought to be at least six months away.

The post gives few clues over where the job cuts will land beyond noting that because the entire company was now working virtually “we require fewer resources to support our in-office environment, so we’re scaling back that investment and redeploying those resources to drive our ambitious product roadmap.”

Priorities

The cutbacks will lead to “a more efficient and nimble Dropbox,” he argued and gave three priorities for the coming year: “1) evolving the core Dropbox experience... 2) investing in new products built for distributed work; and 3) driving operational excellence.”

In recent years, Dropbox has tried to move itself from a biz that simply provides cloud storage for companies to one that they use for online collaboration. Since the pandemic it has seen other companies trying to muscle in on its core business: Microsoft for example increased its upload file limit from 15GB to 100GB and then to 250GB.

Back in 2019, Houston launched a new service - Spaces - which would use artificial intelligence to help customers with their day-to-day workflow by pulling in messages and files from a range of other services including Slack, Zoom and Trello into one Dropbox folder. The new search technology was supposed to flag information that was most relevant while pushing less important information out of immediate sight.

Those efforts remain somewhat limited and as a result have failed to take off. In June, the company went for a more pragmatic approach and launched a password manager service but that also has failed to take off.

Houston remains convinced that is the right path going forward however and presumably believes that the key to success is to focus harder on it and work on providing a better service than competitors.

He wrote: “Over the past year, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of running a tight ship and getting the company ready for the next stage of growth. This will require relentless focus on initiatives that align tightly with our strategic priorities, and having the discipline to pull back from those that don’t.” ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022