Apple Really Wanted to Buy Dropbox, Steve Jobs Got Personally Involved

Those with memories spanning more than a few weeks may remember all the rumors going around that Apple was trying to buy Dropbox. The original story claimed that an $800 million deal was on the table, but the people at Dropbox decided not to sell.

Today we have confirmation that Apple did indeed want to acquire Dropbox, and more specifically, Steve Jobs himself personally lobbied for the purchase. Dropbox decided that selling to Apple wasn’t the best course of action at the time.

The revelation comes as Forbes profiles Dropbox and its two co-founders, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. Understandably, the Apple buyout came up, and Houston admits that the syncing and backup company turned down a nine-digit figure from Apple, and even got a visit from the man himself, Steve Jobs…

Apple co-founder and then CEO Jobs met with Houston and Ferdowsi at the company’s Cupertino offices, and Jobs was seemingly as impressed with Dropbox as its founders were of Apple.

“In December 2009 Jobs beckoned Houston (pronounced like the New York City street, not the Texas city) and his partner, Arash Ferdowsi, for a meeting at his Cupertino office. “I mean, Steve friggin’ Jobs,” remembers Houston, now 28. “How do you even prepare for that?” When Houston whipped out his laptop for a demo, Jobs, in his signature jeans and black turtleneck, coolly waved him away: “I know what you do.”


Jobs then gave the Dropbox boys a warning: Apple was going to move into their market, and iCloud would continue on without them. We now know that is exactly what happened, and anyone who has played with iWork syncing will know that Apple’s implementation works well, but could it have been better?

Jobs later tried one last time to get together with Dropbox, but was again denied. That was the last contact between the two companies, other than Jobs himself having a cheeky swipe at the syncing experts in his final keynote speech.

“Instead, Jobs went dark on the subject, resurfacing only this June, at his final keynote speech, where he unveiled iCloud, and specifically knocked Dropbox as a half-attempt to solve the Internet’s messiest dilemma: How do you get all your files, from all your devices, into one place?”

Dropbox is now one of the fastest growing companies in Silicon Valley, grossing around three times as much profit per employee as Google.