Privately held Box has been gaining traction with business users and IT departments all over the place. The company has garnered 7 million users and 100,000 businesses and tallies up 250,000 new users every month. Its cloud-storage and collaboration platform competes directly with SharePoint, which commands 100 million customers. Although it's not quite a "SharePoint killer," the growing company represents a threat that Microsoft can't ignore.
Box has just secured $81 million in funding from new investors, including salesforce.com
This comes shortly after rejecting an unsolicited buyout offer from cloud heavyweight Citrix Systems
In a direct shot at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Levie recently took to the stage at the company's inaugural customer conference, Boxworks, and said, "Enterprise software isn't sexy, and that's because it makes you think of this guy" -- as he displayed a picture of Ballmer. Box is also going after other enterprise-software players, including IBM
Last year, Microsoft announced Office 365, a major upgrade to its staple Office offering that promises to make the software much more cloud-friendly. Microsoft initially launched a beta period and then pegged next year for widespread availability.
As much as Levie resists offers, this Fool thinks he will eventually give in and sell the company to a bigger player. In the meantime, he'll be keeping Microsoft on its toes playing defense.