In the press release, Box CEO Aaron Levie isn't exactly shy about which company exactly should be worried about this new vendor alliance:
“Slow-moving enterprise software giants have produced very little innovation in recent years, and their closed ecosystems have made it all but impossible for outside players to create compelling experiences for customers on legacy systems. We’re changing all of that – and we’re doing so in ways that platforms like Microsoft simply cannot - by creating an open ecosystem of leading partners to enable developers to build and deploy Box applications instantly and on any platform.”
The essential goal of /bin, Box says, is to give ISVs the stuff they need to build really innovative apps on the storage platform. A /bin partner will provide these developers with tools and services, while a /bin member will do the actual heavy lifting of creating enterprise applications on top of Box. Box already offers open APIs for developers, but this announcement is putting the laser sight squarely on the business side of the equation.
To help propel this new initiative forward, Box is investing in a /bin fund that will invest $2 million in "equity investments, intellectual property acquisitions, and co-development of enterprise products" over the network's first year. Apparently, the money is coming from Box's considerable war chest of VC funding.
Box has already built itself an impressive niche in the cloud services market, the enterprise and the channel. And launching the Box Innovation Network with heavyweights like VMware, Salesforce.com and Rackspace on board is an auspicious start. This could be the beginning of something big, so stay tuned for more.