Microsoft officially unveiled Office 2013 earlier this month. Office 2013 isn’t just a good tool for spinning up spreadsheets and slide decks; it’s also a great platform for Microsoft to promote its cloud storage service SkyDrive.
Office in the Cloud
Microsoft has been busy moving things around and positioning them just right to attract attention to Office 2013 and its cloud services. First, the company announced it's including a social connector in Outlook 2013. The connector integrates Facebook and LinkedIn into the email client to enrich contact information. Then, Microsoft revealed it was nixing Hotmail in favor of the shiny new Metro-style Outlook.com.
Why stop when you’re on a roll? Microsoft has now detailed its plans for integrating SkyDrive with Office 2013. According to a new entry on the Office blog, Microsoft is making SkyDrive the default location for saving files in Office. The software giant explains the change is all about the users, writing,
This allows our users to move from device to device without having to worry where their content (or Office app) resides. Saving to the cloud also enables collaboration scenarios like coauthoring which aren’t possible when a file is just saved on your local machine.”
Microsoft may have your best interest in mind, but the move also has the potential to bring an enormous number of new users to SkyDrive. I’m sure this little benefit crossed at least one person’s minds while the rest of the team was busy making things easier for you. (Pretend that last sentence was in my sarcasm font.)
Microsoft’s actions are no different than what Google is doing with Google Drive or Apple is doing with iCloud. However, Office has much more significant enterprise penetration than these products. Organizations that don’t change the defaults in Office risk having large amounts of sensitive content being stored in the cloud -- something that might not be a great idea.
What This Means
In any case, Microsoft’s recent moves show the company is dedicated to transferring some of its desktop dominance to the cloud. The company realizes the lifespan of the traditional disconnected desktop is coming to an end. Microsoft must become a “cloud company” or it will slowly slide into obsolescence.