Microsoft who? Sinofsky adds another scene to his second act, signs up with Box

The former Windows chief will advise Box as the company sharpens its cloud storage and file share service, and broadens its scope

By , IDG News Service |  Storage

Box's product is used in 180,000 businesses -- including in 97 percent of the Fortune 500 -- and by about 20 million people.

The privately held company, based in Los Altos, California, is on pace to more than double its revenue in its current fiscal year, after posting sales growth of more than 150 percent in the previous one, it has said.

The Box storage and file share application can be accessed from computer browsers and mobile apps for all major platforms. It's aimed at businesses of all sizes, and Box plans to deepen and broaden its collaboration features.

"We have a very long road map around collaboration and [file] sharing and how people can work with their data and content," Levie told IDG News Service recently. "We're very early on that road map. What you see today is not how the product will look in six or 18 months."

Box acquired in May an unreleased application called Folders, designed to give iPhone and iPad users a mobile front-end interface for Box as well as for competitors Google Drive and Dropbox.

Box plans to improve its iOS application with the Folders technology, which includes a PDF viewer, a music player, document, photo and video viewers, a photo and video recording tool, and the capability to create and edit notes.

Also in May, Box acquired Crocodoc, whose HTML5 technology it will use to improve the way documents stored on its service are rendered for viewing, replacing its existing document preview feature.

Meanwhile, Sinofsky made an abrupt and unceremonious exit from Microsoft in November last year, a few weeks after Windows 8, his magnum opus, started shipping.

An upgrade of historical importance for Microsoft, Windows 8 is widely considered a flawed product that hasn't been able to accomplish its main goal: give Microsoft a major push in the tablet OS market against iOS and Android.

Critics have said that in trying to make an OS that works well on both desktops and tablets, Microsoft ended up with one that works well in neither.

Sinofsky and Microsoft said their decision to split was mutual and cordial, but industry observers point at the controversies over Windows 8 -- which began well before it shipped commercially -- as a likely factor in his departure.

Primarily, Windows 8 has been blasted for its radically redesigned "Modern" interface, which is based on tile icons optimized for touch screens and meant to help the OS gain traction in the tablet market.

Version 8.1, a major revision of the OS, is due to ship in October and address the main points of contention. For instance, Windows 8.1 adds something similar to the Windows 7 Start button and it smooths out the bumpy interplay between the Modern interface and the more traditional desktop, included to run legacy Windows applications.

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