Jive CEO Tony Zingale zinged Zynga, Yammer, Oracle and you name who else in an interview with Box CEO Aaron Levie at Boxworks. But the real story comes with Zingale appearing as a mystery guest for the company’s annual event — fueling speculation that the two young enterprise challengers may have some news to share as the week goes on.
Jive and Box are close partners and compete directly with the enterprise giants. Box has its strengths in content management while Jive has a collaboration service that trades on the NASADAQ. Box has made moves of its own to signal a potential IPO.
Constellation Research Analyst Alan Lepofsky said in an email interview with me that it’s possible these two companies may have more to say as the week goes on:
…I think it significant that Tony was on stage with Aaron and the two are often at Silicon Valley CEO events together, especially around the VC gathering. I would not start to speculate about things like an acquisition though. Instead, think tighter integration. Both Jive and Box are “top players” in what they do. However, Box’s strength is not currently collaboration and Jive’s strength is not around file-centric actions. With JiveWorld this week, I’d think we can expect a few more announcements.
It makes sense that the two would form a deeper partnership. Krishnan Subramanian made that point in a post he wrote yesterday about Box and its strategic direction as a best-of-breed player that forms partnerships instead of developing a suite of services such as what we have seen from companies like Yammer, which Microsoft recently acquired. You see a similar story playing out at Socialcast — bought by VMware — as it seeks to move further up the stack with more end-user offerings.
You can see this singular approach in the Box partnerships it announced today with SAP and others. Big companies want to partner with Box for the excellence of its cotent management service and its primary focus om mobile.
Lepofsky also said in our email interview:
Box announced integrations with SAP Afari, ProofPoint and GoodData. Afari and ProofPoint are about security; GoodData is about Business Intelligence. What I think is significant is that Box is building a robust partner ecosystem with key enterprise application services and providers. When 3rd parties want to build for you, that is great indication that your platform is successful.
But then what about Box hiring Writely Founder Sam Schillace as the company’s a vice president of engineering? As Lepofsky tweeted, Google acquired Writely and then made it the foundation for Google Docs.
So the question becomes how Box will compete with the likes of Google, which earlier this year launched Google Drive. The service allows for syncing documents between your desktop and Google’s cloud storage and collaboration environment.
In summary, though, Box is about building out features and working in third-party ecosystems, which is what it now does with Jive. But it’s also just the first day of the show, so we will have to see what else Box has to say over the next three days.