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Business competition heats up in the cloud

A cloud computing conference kicked off Wednesday in San Francisco and the business competition seems to be really taking off.
More and more of us are storing our pictures and personal files in the so-called "cloud" and on Wednesday, a conference about using the cloud for work kicked off in San Francisco. Despite lingering questions about security, the cloud is really taking off and the competition in that business is heating up.

Box CEO Aaron Levie's become well known in tech, but this time, he wasn't the biggest name at his own company's conference.

After passing around his Oscar, actor and singer Jared Leto spoke about a mistake the record labels made long ago. He said, "They had this wonderful platform Napster sitting in their lap. They could've made a deal, but they f----ed it up."

Let that be a lesson to other industries.

Leto added, "The world's going to the cloud whether you like it or not, and you better jump on board before it's too late or it's going to be a very expensive, major pain in the ass."

That's what BoxWorks is all about -- putting business in the cloud to work with smartphones, tablets, even Google glass.

Now, Box is rolling out file sharing solutions for specific industries like retail, entertainment and health care.

But industry watchers say those specialized services are a bit of a survival strategy for Box. It's up against titans like Google and Amazon, who in the past year have brought the price of cloud storage down to almost nothing.

"Basically, they're trying to say, 'Hey we're special,' and I don't know if that's going to work," VentureBeat staff writer Jordan Novet said.

Novet points out even though hard drives are getting bigger and cheaper, Google or Microsoft can always buy more of them for less. Levie knows the only way to survive is to innovate.

Levie told ABC7 News, "Giving customers more value, giving more services, but not necessarily play the price war that some of the other players have entered in."

BoxWorks is twice as big as it was last year, but Box itself still isn't profitable and recently delayed its plans to go public. If and when that'll happen is a guessing game.
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