Headline April 24, 2015/ ''' BOX[ED] IN : BY CLOUDY FUTURE '''

''' BOX[ED] IN : 


ABOUT 10 years ago, student Aaron Levie dropped out of college to start a Silicon Valley company called BOX.

Before long, he was one of those young technology wizards of whom great things were expected.

Mr. Levie faced hurdles and some fitful progress but ultimately reached the point many entrepreneurs only dream of: Box conducted an initial public offering in January, but had already raise more than $500 million privately.

It employs 1,200 people and is considered on the cutting edge of a new generation of companies that provide services to big business customers over cloud computing systems.

Now comes the hard part   -survival. Box today is worth $2.1 billion, but losses are continuing to add up while revenue is not growing enough to suit Wall Street's tastes. The company's shares are down 25 percent since it went public.

And rival services from tech heavyweights like Amazon and Microsoft threaten Box's business.

Mr Levie and his company are nearing a make-or-break point others in this generation of of young companies are also likely to soon face: Find a way to cut those losses and stay ahead of deep pocketed competition or disappear.

For Box to compete, it has to get other people to build great things on what it has built in the same way Apple and Google got  app makers  to create tools that made their mobile software indispensable.

At a company conference this week, Box, which so far focused on  Internet Data Storage and collaboration technology,  will explain how it plans to help other businesses build their own cloud services.

The goal is to create a so called ecosystem that ensures continuous growth just as Microsoft did with PCs and Apple did with iPhone.

If the plan does not work, it is doubtful that Box will survive as an independent company, and Mr. Levie for all those high hopes, will become a footnote, someone with a great idea who could not quiet turn it into a lasting business.

''The writing is on the wall,'' said Norman Young, an analyst at Morningstar. ''they know they need to innovate. What separates the winner is supplying a valuable and necessary service.''

Mr. Levie 30, is voluble and as bouncy as an undergraduate, a mood reinforced by his typical costume of one suit jacket, jeans and orange-laced track shoes -though his hair is starting to show more than a little early gray.

He prefers to put a positive spin on his company's predicament. His life, he said in an interview,  ''is an entrepreneur's dream. You just try not to think about the times that you are the world's pinata.''

The technology that made Box notable, the pairing of cloud computing and mobile devices, has moved from an off-beat idea when Mr. Levie started Box to today's mainstream of corporate computing.

Upstarts like Uber rely on the cloud and mobile, long-timers like  IBM  are remaking themselves for the new kinds of corporate computing, and older Internet giants have very intention of dominating the field.

Mr. Levie realized his company had to do more because it was not much more than a  ''glorified storage tool''   that could be easily replicated, Mr.Young of Morningstar said. 

''The wrinkle is, how long he can he hold out and become the next big thing, or does he get purchased by bigger company?''

Box currently has ways to store and share most of what makes a business, be it marketing brochures, X-rays, financial records or video.

It can be the center of a new industry, Mr.Levie says, by helping other companies and third-party consultants create applications that can quickly draw off Box's cloud-based collaboration technology.

A bank, say, might use Box for a new loan-making app, or a filmmaker could securely distribute his latest work to willing buyers.

An educational publisher might release content to  10 million  students at once, through Box.

''Our brand can be the proxy for all kinds of cloud developers,  the ' Intel inside'  of the  cloud era,''  Mr. Levie said. He added, ''it's going to come down to who can integrate a lot of different experiences for people.''

The Honour and Serving of the  ''technology operational research'' continues. Thank you for reading, and maybe, learning. And see Ya on the following one.

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