Dropbox Hires Microsoft Exec To Handle Sales, Channels

Thomas Hansen

Cloud file sync and share developer Dropbox showed it is serious about the business market and its increasingly important Microsoft relationship with the decision to hire a former Microsoft small- and midsize-business executive.

Dropbox on Tuesday said in a blog post that Thomas Hansen will be the company's new global vice president of sales and channel. Hansen is expected to move to Dropbox in August.

Dennis Woodside, chief operating officer at San Francisco-based Dropbox, wrote in the blog post that Hansen will lead the company's Dropbox for Business direct sales and channel teams.

[Related: Dropbox Acquires CloudOn For Office 365 Collaborations]

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"A seasoned veteran with over a decade of experience at Microsoft -- where he most recently served as the Worldwide Vice President of Small and Medium Business -- Thomas understands how to meet the needs of millions of customers all over the globe. We’re scaling at an extraordinary pace, and Thomas’ insights will help us accelerate Dropbox adoption even further," Woodside wrote.

The hiring of Hansen comes as Dropbox appears to be getting closer to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

Dropbox and Microsoft in April unveiled a partnership under which users can edit Microsoft Office files in Dropbox via the Web.

That was a follow-on from the November move by the two companies to partner to allow Microsoft Office applications to be shared using Dropbox.

Dropbox executives were not available to respond to CRN requests for further information about hiring Hansen.

However, a Dropbox spokesperson emailed to CRN a statement attributed to Hansen: "With more than 400 million global users, Dropbox is experiencing incredible growth -- and this is just the beginning. The cloud is truly transformational in its nature of democratizing technology for businesses, large and small. As more and more companies move to the cloud to boost productivity, Dropbox will be the solution to get them there and I’m thrilled to be part of this journey."

The Dropbox spokesperson also wrote in that email that Dropbox has 400 million users worldwide, including 8 million business users, which is double the number of business users compared to November of 2013. The company also has over 100,000 teams and organizations using Dropbox for Business worldwide.

The hiring of Hansen is really Dropbox doubling down on its commitment to the business market, said Rafi Kronzon, CEO of Cartwheel, a New York-based managed services provider.

"This is good news for companies like ours," Kronzon told CRN. "I'm not sure what Hansen's goals are for growth. But for Dropbox to land someone like that shows it's in the business market to win."

Hansen comes to Dropbox at a time when that company seems to moving to more and more integration with Microsoft, Kronzon said.

"It makes me wonder if there might be a Microsoft-Dropbox marriage down the road," he said. "Microsoft OneDrive is way behind Dropbox and Box in terms of usefulness. Microsoft seems to be ambivalent to what OneDrive can do. Dropbox might show Microsoft the way."