Box buys iOS app to improve its own

The cloud storage and file sharing vendor bought an unreleased application called Folders

Box has acquired an unreleased application called Folders, designed to give iPhone and iPad users a mobile front-end interface for the cloud storage and file management and sharing service as well as for competitors Google Drive and Dropbox.

The Folders technology will be deeply integrated with Box's own iOS application, which will be upgraded with the Folders improvements later this year, Box's Vice President of Engineering Sam Schillace said in a blog post on Thursday.

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"When we saw Folders we saw a beautiful experience and set of design patterns that we had to bring to Box's users," he wrote, adding that Box's iOS app will become "cleaner, faster and more beautiful."

Folders includes a PDF viewer, a music player, document, photo and video viewers, a photo and video recording tool and the capability to create and edit notes.

Box acquired the Folders intellectual property from its developer Martin Destagnol, who had created a company called Reedian to market the app.

Destagnol, who is French, has joined Box as a senior technical consultant, and when immigration procedures are completed he will become a full-time Box employee and be in charge of iOS development, according to a Box spokesman. The Folders app will not be launched as a stand-alone product.

Earlier this month, Box announced its acquisition of Crocodoc to improve the way documents are rendered for viewing on its service.

The Folders and Crocodoc acquisitions are important steps by Box to improve the way its users interact with files on the Web and via mobile devices, said Alan Lepofsky, a Constellation Research analyst.

"Box clearly understands that content-centric collaboration, where people create and share files, is a critical part of many core business processes. Whether it's a legal contract, product spec sheet, engineering diagram [or] music sample, files are still an important part of our working lives," he said via email.

Box has more than 150,000 business customers and 15 million end users.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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