Microsoft is updating SkyDrive with new features to fight the current batch of cloud storage services. But it's future will be tightly integrated with Windows Phone and Windows 8, making it an even bigger part of the company's one-for-all approach.
Part of the Air Force
SkyDrive first arrived on the scene in 2007, and has been a useful, if unspectacular, resource for Windows users. However, with the arrival of Box.net and Dropbox, it has been pressed into service as a cloud resource to compete. It makes you wonder how ubiquitous SkyDrive could have become if the company had pushed it earlier in its life.
With Apple's iCloud offering getting lots of press, Microsoft really sat up and took notice, releasing its own iOS SkyDrive app back in December. And, with the upcoming Windows 8 vs Mountain Lion battle, SkyDrive will be a sizable cornerstone of Microsoft's offering to get your data across phones, tablets, computers and smart TVs.
The incoming upgrade offers a visual refresh, a new desktop application and full drag-and-drop support. You will also be able to stream audio and video files, making it your own personal media storage facility, facing off against Apple's offering and the likes of Google's new Drive service.
The Big Boss Battle
When Windows 8 officially arrives (not the Consumer Preview version out in a few days), Microsoft will have a full Metro-style app to encourage users to take up the offering of 25GB of storage (at the moment, expect a possibly bigger offering come launch) and more bells and whistles including extra security.
Synching of devices will see data available to all your locations, larger file support -- up from the current 100MB limit to 2GB -- will see it become a practical video storage facility and with the Windows Phone and Tablet integration, it has the potential to be a more practical offering than Apple's iCloud.
One Cloud, Many Devices
With the variety of Windows 8 ARM-powered tablets and other devices being used to access the next generation of MS Office docs, SkyDrive could also become an essential part of business and enterprise use, and while most players in cloud storage look at consumer and small biz first, Microsoft could make a massive push right for the enterprises with mobile workforces.
The original SkyDrive never really made a splash, perhaps because many of us were still nervous about putting data in the cloud back then. Now, we do that before breakfast without thinking about it, so the SkyDrive of the very near future will probably play a far bigger role in our computing lives.