Microsoft announced yesterday that they were "throwing in the towel" on
their Live OneCare service which included a backup service. According
to the web site, "data are continuously protected—automatically backed
up on-schedule to a single location I specify."
This announcement comes on the heels of AOL shuttering its xDrive
backup service and several smaller competitors biting the dust.
Meanwhile Carbonite continues to grow at double-digit month-over-month
rates. And we think at least one of our "pure play" competitors is also
enjoying substantial growth. So what's going on here?
I think it's a matter of focus. Some vendors seem to think that backing
up your PC isn't enough. You ought to throw in anti-virus, firewall,
syncing PCs and mobile devices, sharing photos with friends and family,
and many other "features." Most of these products seem to be dead or on
Everyone knows they should be backing up their PCs. It's a big and
immediate problem. Most of these other features are things that the
user already has or are simply a "nice to have" for some subset of
users (often younger users who tend to not want to pay for such
things). When you have all these other features to sell, it dilutes the
important message that you need to be backing up your computer. And
because most of them have so many features to support, they don't do a
particularly good job at any of them. We're content just to do a
spectacularly good job at backup (if I do say so myself). In five
years, I believe half the world's PCs will be backing up online. If we
want to continue to be number one in this market, we really have to
focus and do a better job than anyone else.
I think Microsoft has found that their expertise at writing software
does not automatically translate into an ability to run a rock-solid
backup service. When we were out raising our first rounds of venture
capital a couple of years ago, I was told repeatedly by investors that
Microsoft was going to enter this market and crush us. What has been
demonstrated time and again is that if you focus on doing one job
exceptionally well and if you're motivated to the point where you’re
life depends on it, no big corporation can keep you down.