Dropbox acquires workplace chat solutions provider Zulip

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Dropbox acquires workplace chat solutions provider Zulip
Dropbox, the popular file hosting service, has quietly acquired the workplace chat solutions provider Zulip. The San Francisco-based startup, which is still testing out its applications in a private beta phase, allows users to share private and public messages with co-workers. While there have been no official declarations or confirmations from Zulip or Dropbox, a private email circulated by Zulip to its customers read, 'Dropbox is acquiring Zulip.'

The mail adds, 'For our customers, tomorrow it's business as usual at Zulip," which may reassure existing users of Zulip's continued services, at least for a while. The mail also stated that there would be 'more announcements' about the future of the products soon. Further, Zulip also stated that it intends to announce the news publicly in a few weeks.

Zulip is founded by ex-Oracle employees Jeff Arnold, Waseem Daher, Jessica McKellar, Tim Abbott and others. According to Techcrunch Zulip has already developed applications for Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone and Android.

With Zulip, users can share public messages, with conversations between co-workers appearing in streams related to a particular issue or topic in discussion, between verticals like Sales or Engineering. Several layers of sub-sections can be created as well, allowing for more detailed conversations. Zulip says its features will help users in finding conversations that are important. There are other features like search, keyboard shortcuts, code syntax highlighting, drag and drop file uploads, group private messaging, email alerts for missed messages, and image sending.

Zulip is competing with other such intra-company communications services as Yammer, Convo and even email. The focus is more on conversations rather than chats. Conversation streams, in the public messaging domain, include topics and threaded replies.

Dropbox, is not new to such acquisitions. In December 2012, it bought music streaming service Audiogalaxy, and cloud-based Snapjoy, which allows people to organise their photos. In 2013, it bought mobile-applications maker Endorse and an online portal called Sold that allows people to sell things online.

Dropbox has refused to comment on the deal, with CNET reporting that a spokesperson for Dropbox said, "We have nothing further to share at this time." Also, there are no details about how the Houston-based outfit plans to integrate Zulip into its portfolio. We've included the complete email sent out by Zulip to its customers, giving a hint of things to come.

"Psst... hey, you! Yeah, you, the one using Zulip. We have some news for you, but you gotta keep it secret. Can you do that? Alright, sweet.

Here's the deal: Dropbox is acquiring Zulip. We're incredibly excited about working with an awesome group of people on a problem with huge scale, at a company that's as passionate as we are about helping people work together efficiently.

We couldn't have gotten here without your support, enthusiasm, and evangelism - so, thank you!

But enough about us: what does this mean for the service you've come to love and enjoy?

For our customers, tomorrow it's business as usual at Zulip. Please use all of the same channels to reach us with questions. As we make progress on integrating with Dropbox, I'm sure that we'll have more announcements about what the product roadmap looks like going forward.

Again, please don't share this news. We intend to announce this publicly in a few weeks, but wanted to give you folks a heads-up since you've supported us from the beginning.

Thanks again for your support, and if you find yourself in San Francisco, come and say hi!

From all of us here at Zulip,

Jeff, Waseem, Jessica, Tim, Luke, Zev, Leo, Allen, acrefoot, Steve, and Jason"


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