Cloud storage and file synchronization have become an essential part of many people’s lives, and Dropbox was one of the first services to offer those features. Even though technology giants like Google and Microsoft have released their own file hosting services in the years since Dropbox first launched, Dropbox has still managed to hold its own, and now has more than 500 million registered users, according to an official blog post on Monday. That’s definitely an impressive number, but it doesn’t mean much when only a fraction of those users are actually paying customers, which is something Dropbox needs to change if it wants to continue competing with the big kids.
Dropbox has long been an incredibly popular choice for cloud file storage and sync, and the company announced Monday it hit an important milestone: It has 500 million registered users. That number leaves out a lot of information. It’s unclear whether Dropbox has 500 million unique people registered to use its service, or if it has 500 million registered accounts, with some people using multiple accounts. The company also didn’t say how many of those accounts are active. Dropbox also said that it has 150,000 businesses paying for its product — which is the same figure it unveiled at a conference in November. In Monday’s announcement, the firm said it adds 25,000 paying business customers each quarter, meaning it now should have upwards of 175,000 paying customers. That last figure is particularly important because Dropbox’s business relies on convincing companies to use its services for their internal file storage and collaboration needs. Dropbox said it is already used inside 8 million businesses — in many cases, without being approved by IT — but the actual percentage of businesses paying for the privilege of using the service is much smaller. Dropbox’s pitch to IT managers is simple: CIOs can be heroes to their users by allowing them to use the same tools they’re already comfortable with on their home computers. At the same time, paying for Dropbox Business or Enterprise will give companies the ability to manage what their employees are doing.