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Dropbox urged by users to open-source soon-to-be shut Mailbox app

Dropbox finds itself in the firing line after calling time on much-loved email app

Dropbox users are petitioning the cloud storage giant to consider open-sourcing its iOS email app Mailbox, after announcing plans to shut it down in 2016.

The cloud storage firm announced its intention in a blog post on 7 December 2015, explaining it was part of a wider push by Dropbox to focus its efforts on improving collaboration between individuals and teams. As part of this, its photo-sharing tool Carousel is also set for the chop.

“Building products is about learning as much as it’s about making. It’s also about tough choices,” said the company in a blog post.

“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.”

While Carousel will cease to function as a standalone offering on 31 March 2016, the company has said parts of its functionality will be incorporated into the Dropbox app. Mailbox will shut its doors on 25 February 2016.

“We’re committed to making the transitions from these products as painless as possible. We’ll be communicating details directly to users of both apps in the coming days,” the blog post continued.

“To our Carousel and Mailbox users, thank you for embracing these products and we’re sorry. It’s not easy to say goodbye to products we love. But ultimately we think this increased focus will help us create even better experiences for you in the months and years to come.”

News of Mailbox’s closure, in particular, does not appear to have gone down well with users of the app, who vented their fury at the decision in the blog’s comment section.

Dropbox acquired Mailbox for $100m in October 2013 from Orchestra, and many of the comments focus on why the company is shutting it down just two years after purchasing it and vowing to develop it further.

“You never really invested in Mailbox’s development. So it’s not a surprise it tanked,” wrote one user. “I hope you can bring some interesting features and value to your storage services, otherwise people will look for a more interesting alternative.”

“I’m getting nervous about the great tools you are making if you’re just going to shut them down,” said another, before speculating that this announcement could make users wary of adopting other additions to the Dropbox product portfolio in the future.

At the time of writing, nearly 150 people had aired their views on the news, while more than 200 had signed a petition, urging Dropbox to reverse its decision or open source the software.

“This is a plea to Dropbox to open-source Mailbox. Let the community who loves it take it into its next life. As a community, we will find a way to manage and maintain it. Please, Dropbox, do not kill our favourite Mail app. Let us adopt it,” the petition blurb stated.

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