Microsoft Ups Its OneDrive Play

Microsoft wants be the place for everything in your life, so it's offering you “larger, faster, easier-to-use” features, just as quickly as it possibly can.

Late yesterday Justin Moore, Microsoft’s  group manager for OneDrive, announced that OneDrive now supports uploads of files of up to 10 GB using the desktop apps for Windows and Mac, all of the mobile apps, and the OneDrive website.

“It’s the number one featured request,” wrote Moore in the announcement. And, almost needless to say, the hope is that OneDrive users won’t stray if they know they’re being heard and getting (almost) everything that they want in short order.

Keeping its Customers

And while the upload of 10 GB files is limited, for now, to consumer level OneDrive users, the same capability should also become available to OneDrive Business users in short order.

After all, Microsoft knows that if workers can’t get what they need from IT, they’ll go provision it on their own from services like Dropbox, Google Drive, EMC Syncplicity, the iCloud and so on.

One of Microsoft's biggest fears is that if they lose enough customers at the consumer level then they’ll risk losing them in the enterprise as well, and vice versa.

Though Microsoft’s new architectures are more open than they have been in the past, the company's strategy is to keep customers at both the consumer and business level because it’s both the path of least resistance and the best experience.

That being said, it’s interesting to ask why support for 10 GB uploads for business users won’t be available until a bit later.

Why the Delay for OneDrive for Business Users? Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet speculates that the reticence might be “due to the fact that OneDrive for Business is reliant on SharePoint Online/Office 365, and there is a test version of the next version of SharePoint coming soon.”

Dropbox-Like Link Sharing

It’s clear that Microsoft OneDrive product managers are paying attention to what its competitors are doing and then filling in the gaps in its services in short order. A perfect case and point? People who use Windows 7 and 8 have now been given a Dropbox-like ability to quickly get links to content in their OneDrive folder without needing to go to the web. 


Folder Uploads via

But that’s not all. Starting today OneDrive users can drag folders directly into from Google Chrome.


Faster Uploads and Downloads?

Both Dropbox and Dropbox for Business pride themselves on their “lightning fast uploads and downloads”. Moore says that Microsoft has made performance enhancements that, in internal tests, show up to a threefold increase in synching speed.

The announcement boasts:

We’ve increased the number of files that can be downloaded or uploaded at a given time on PCs and Macs. In internal tests, this parallel syncing netted an approximately threefold increase in syncing speed. Our performance enhancements have begun rolling out and will be available worldwide in the coming weeks. "

But users are skeptical. In the comment thread that follows the Microsoft blog post, a number of the posters aired their frustration with the fact that not only are the limits not ready for business users yet, but also about syncing speeds.

2014-9-11 OneDrive Sync limits.jpg


Nonetheless, let's focus on the positives here. Most of those who have commented on the blog post are enthusiastic about it the change. It's basically a case of a lot done, with a lot more still to do.

If There’s No Fight, Why Switch?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has opened Microsoft up more than ever before so that it is available “wherever you are.” When he did this, he acknowledged that your workspace and your “personal space” choices go well beyond being Microsoft-only — that you have a choice.

This necessarily puts the vendor that has dominated our use of productivity tools in our lifetime into a position in which it has to “win our business” rather than take it for granted.

Hats off to Microsoft for owning-up to the fact that it’s no longer in the default position, and good for us. Choice forces all players to show up with their best game or to be deemed irrelevant on the playground.

Title image by michaelstephan-fotografie / Shutterstock.