Dropbox Refused Nine-Digit Offer from Steve Jobs and Apple [Report]


Dropbox: couldn't live without it
Dropbox: couldn't live without it

There were rumors flying around months ago that Apple was looking to buy Dropbox. The popular cloud storage service has made a name for itself as one of the most relied-upon wireless sync solutions in the consumer market.

The rumors were true. Apple did want to buy Dropbox, so much so that Steve Jobs himself offered the startup a nine-digit acquisition offer. Dropbox said no to the offer, so Apple created iCloud.

According to Forbes, in December 2009, Steve Jobs personally invited Drew Houston and his partner Arash Ferdowsi (creators of Dropbox) to his office in Cupertino to talk about an offer. Jobs saw the value that Dropbox offered Apple. If you recall, Apple was undergoing intense scrutiny over its failed MobileMe cloud service.

Jobs pitched the offer to Houston and Ferdowsi, but the Dropbox guys wouldn’t budge.

“Jobs presciently saw this sapling as a strategic asset for Apple. Houston cut Jobs’ pitch short: He was determined to build a big company, he said, and wasn’t selling, no matter the status of the bidder (Houston considered Jobs his hero) or the prospects of a nine-digit price (he and Ferdowsi drove to the meeting in a Zipcar Prius).

Jobs smiled warmly as he told them he was going after their market. “He said we were a feature, not a product,” says Houston. Courteously, Jobs spent the next half hour waxing on over tea about his return to Apple, and why not to trust investors, as the duo—or more accurately, Houston, who plays Penn to Ferdowsi’s mute Teller—peppered him with questions.”

After his failed attempt to acquire Dropbox, Jobs gave Houston and Ferdowsi the cold shoulder. It wasn’t until Jobs’ final keynote in June of last year that he unveiled iCloud and made a jab at Dropbox as a half-baked cloud service.


Dropbox is now one of the fastest growing tech companies in existence with over 50 million users. After the launch of iCloud, Dropbox has not seen a marginal decrease in market adoption. Things are looking bright for the young entrepreneurs that said no to Steve Jobs two years ago.