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In Retrenchment, Dropbox Closes Down Mailbox and Carousel Photo Services

To break it down more simply, not enough people were using either offering.

According to sources, Dropbox is closing down two of its high-profile consumer services, Mailbox and the Carousel photo storing offering.

While the file-sharing company seems to be making the move to double down on focusing on its core experience of collaboration, suffice it to say that both features did not catch on as was expected, due to intense competition.

To break it down more simply, not enough people were using either one. “Growth has not been as significant as expected,” said one source.

Yes, that.

Update: Here are links to Dropbox blogs on the subject, confirming the move. The main one, the Mailbox “sunset” one and the Carousel sunset one.

Said the company: “Building new products is about learning as much as it is about making. It’s also about tough choices. Over the past few months, we’ve increased our team’s focus on collaboration and simplifying the way people work together. In light of that, we’ve made the difficult decision to shut down Carousel and Mailbox.”

Well, kudos to Dropbox for biting the bullet here, as most weak products in Silicon Valley limp along until they are virtual zombies. (And not the entertaining kind either!)

In any case, as any user would notice — I most certainly have had an ever-increasing glitchy experience at Mailbox! — Dropbox had already pulled away resources from both units and functionality had most definitely suffered from that neglect.

Both services were part of a strategy of what Dropbox’s co-founder and CEO Drew Houston once called making a “home for life.”

“Think of houses back in the day — you’d have one room for everything. Where you eat, where you sleep. Now, your kitchen is different from your living room is different from your bedroom. And that’s what’s happening with Dropbox,” he said in an interview. “Some of these things we build, and some of these things other people build. But all of these things are part of this home, your life, your work — everything you care about all in one place. We’re moving from one app to a whole family of apps.”

Now, it seems, a broken family.

Carousel, which launched to much fanfare in 2014, will close down on March 31; Dropbox will be helping users migrate back to its core photo storing service.

Mailbox — which was acquired in 2013 — departs February 26 and its customers will be given help in migrating to other email clients.

Data for both services will still remain in Dropbox regardless, but users are doubtlessly going to be shaken by the reliance on what are now two failed products.

It’s a tough moment for Dropbox too, which has had larger aspirations of growing beyond its file-sharing roots. But buffeted by intense competition by Google and others that have made consumer file-sharing more of a commodity offering, the company has of late shifted its focus to the enterprise.

That said, Mailbox was an innovative offering with a number of cool functionalities, such as sweeping emails effortlessly. Dropbox bought the company in 2013.

As part of the shuttering, Mailbox co-founders Scott Cannon and Gentry Underwood are departing, but Cannon will remain an adviser. Underwood was head of Dropbox design for a time. Product at Dropbox is now run by former Twitter exec Todd Jackson, who arrived in July.

The changes come amid a larger issue at Dropbox, one of the most prominent unicorns, which is seeking to go public, goose growth and also maintain its lofty valuation. Not easy at all these days, but focus is perhaps the best path here.

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