Most of the companies similar to Box and Dropbox will be gone in 2 years - Gartner

The market for business file storage software has been one of the most competitive fields in tech over the past few years.

There are more than a hundred vendors competing in this space now, ranging from upstarts like Box and Dropbox to the big players including Google and Microsoft.

But this market, broadly known as “enterprise file synchronisation and sharing (EFSS),” is ripe for change and could end up losing 70% of the companies over the next two years, according to market research firm Gartner.

“By 2018, 70% of EFSS destination vendors will cease to exist, having been acquired or put out of business, and the remaining 30% will evolve to support the digital workplace or modernise corporate data infrastructures,” Gartner writes in its latest “Magic Quadrant” report for the EFSS industry.

The report notes that there’s “fierce competition” going on in this space, causing the simple file storage functionality to become commoditized and be offered at almost no cost. That would cause smaller players with no differentiating features or bigger companies that see little reason to expand to entirely back out of the industry.

In the meantime, the remaining leading vendors will either focus on building up its work collaboration features or become a full-scale backend repository for data and files, the report predicts.

Gartner has picked four companies to lead this space in this year’s report. That includes Box and Dropbox, the two most popular names in EFSS, and Citrix, a $13 billion publicly traded company with a variety of products used by companies with mobile workforces.

The big surprise winner here is Egnyte, the 9-year old startup that’s raised only $62 million, a fraction of what some of its other competitors have.

The top 4 vendors offer similar storage services but differ primarily over whether they’re cloud-only or offer a mix of cloud and on-premise storage. Box and Dropbox are only available over the web, while Egnyte and Citrix let users take a “hybrid” approach, allowing them to store files both on the web (“cloud”) and in their own data centres (“on-premise”).

This infographic from Skysync should give a better idea of how it works:

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