Box CEO Aaron Levie had a rough first quarterly earnings on Wednesday, where he saw Box shares drop over 10% in after hours on ballooning expenses.
But the 29-year old CEO still found time to praise Microsoft, his long-time rival in the storage space, during the earnings call.
“Our relationship with Microsoft has evolved quite a bit over the past 18 months, specifically around Satya coming in as CEO,” Levie said. “What Satya has done is really try to drive a new level of openness.”
Citing a number of different partnerships formed between Box and Microsoft recently, including Box’s integration with Microsoft Outlook and Office 365, Levie said Nadella has turned Microsoft into a company with a “much broader and holistic view.”
This is pretty amazing if you recall back to how Levie talked about Microsoft a few years ago. In 2011, he said the company was “not even relevant” and called it “a jack of all trades” and a “master of none.”
The company even bought a huge billboard that compared Box against Microsoft’s SharePoint with the tagline “Sharing should be simple.”
Now, his tune has changed. He realises that most of Box’s customers still use Microsoft products and aren’t about to give them all up any time soon.
“You’ll continue to see these integrations emerge over time even if we stay competitive for some individual use cases. The majority of our large enterprise customers use Box in conjunction with both Office and Office 365,” he said on the earnings call.
Levie’s response is nothing new if you’ve been following Microsoft lately.
Under Nadella, Microsoft has been able to forge partnerships with companies that never would have imagined working with them under ex-CEO Steve Ballmer. For example, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff had only good things to say about Nadella, while long-time rival Oracle is cozying up, too. He’s also put an end to Microsoft’s war with Apple by using some of Apple’s devices during a recent conference.
And that’s keeping everyone happy, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates. “I’m very happy with what he’s doing,” Gates said in a recent interview with Bloomberg. “I see a new sense of energy. There’s a lot of opportunity there, some things the company isn’t the leader on, and he sees that he needs to change that.”
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