Almost from the day it launched, Dropbox has been arguably the best storage and file syncing service on the market — and it's also been among the most expensive. Founder Drew Houston has often said that Dropbox customers aren't focused on the price, so long as they get a service that works. But with competitors like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive relentlessly cutting their prices, Dropbox has found itself under increasing pressure to respond in kind. Today, it's relenting.
Today Dropbox announced a revamped version of its paid offering for individuals, called Dropbox Pro, that costs $9.99 a month for 1 terabyte of storage. Previously, $9.99 got you just 100 gigabytes; storage maxed out at 500GB, which cost a whopping $500 a year. (All existing Pro customers will be upgraded to the new plan over the next few days.) Along with the new price come features aimed mostly at freelancers, consultants, and solo entrepreneurs: the ability to share links with password protection, to share links that expire on a certain date, and to share some files in "read-only" mode. (It works best with software that has a native read-only mode, like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.) Pro users also get the ability to remotely wipe a lost or missing device.
Those features were already available to business users, who pay $15 per person a month. Today's move makes it easier for people like real estate agents or wedding photographers to make Dropbox the center of their working life. And the pro pricing brings Dropbox in line with Google, which also charges $9.99 a month for 1TB of storage. OneDrive is running a promotion for 1TB for $2.50 a month. That leaves Amazon as the most expensive of the big players for now: it charges $500 a year for 1TB of storage on its Cloud Drive, or $41.67 a month.
Houston is mostly right that Dropbox customers aren't primarily concerned with price. But it couldn't afford to ignore its competitors forever. The new Pro offering looks useful, if not revolutionary. But until its rivals drop their prices once again, Dropbox can stop competing on price and continue competing on service. And that's a competition the company has been winning for some time.