With Mailbox, Dropbox has another route to sneak into businesses

Mailbox, presently only available for iOS and Gmail, augments email with features like 'snoozing' emails until later

Dropbox isn't just for files any more.

The company said this morning that it is acquiring Mailbox, the new service that is trying to improve mobile email. For now Mailbox is only available for iOS and Gmail. It adds new features to the standard email app, like letting users "snooze" emails until a later time and swipe messages to an archive or trash can. It launched in February, to massive demand: At one point, there were 800,000 people waiting to get it, according to Reuters.

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In a very brief blog post, Dropbox wrote that leaders from the companies spent some time together and realized that they have similar missions.

"Dropbox doesn't replace your folders or your hard drive; it makes them better. The same is true with Mailbox: It doesn't replace your email; it makes it better," Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox and Arash Ferdowsi, CTO, wrote in the blog post.

The Wall Street Journal first covered the acquisition and said Dropbox will keep Mailbox running as a stand-alone app and that Dropbox planned to use Mailbox's technology to improve Dropbox's email attachment features.

The deal marks a turning point for Dropbox, giving the company even more potential to expand its reach into businesses. Dropbox is already widely used by mobile workers looking for a central repository to store their documents for access from multiple devices. While some businesses are wary of Dropbox, fearing potential security issues, the service is widely used by workers -- a recent report from Skyhigh, a company that monitors cloud service usage by employees, found that Dropbox was the second most commonly used app among the 500,000 or so end-users Skyhigh monitors.

Mobile workers have even more reason to turn to Dropbox with the new Mailbox offering. It's the first expansion of Dropbox's business outside of its file sharing roots, but raises the potential that the company could add even more services in the future.

Dropbox did not immediately reply to a request for further comment about the deal.

Nancy Gohring is a freelance journalist who has been writing about mobile networks, cloud computing, and consumer electronics for more than a decade. Read Nancy's bio

This story, "With Mailbox, Dropbox has another route to sneak into businesses," was originally published at CITEworld. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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