Microsoft touts Skydrive statistics, takes on iCloud

Apple’s iCloud announcement finally showed the long awaited follow-up to Mobileme. While MobileMe was considered a failure on most accounts for Apple, iCloud looks to be a replacement worthy of the Apple branding.

But not to be outdone, Microsoft too has its own cloud service called SkyDrive. Microsoft states that since 2007, Skydrive has been the one place to access your documents, photos and more from anywhere for free. Going a step further they state that Skydrive has over 100M users, 2.2Petabytes of data stored which includes 250M documents.

But more than just SkyDrive, the Windows live team has been investing in the cloud for over a decade. Microsoft is currently servicing over 500 million customers with Xbox Live, Skydrive, Hotmail and Messenger.  Microsoft is touting its statistics to show that iCloud is far from an industry revolution and that Microsoft has been playing in these waters for a very long time.

While the jury is still out on if iCloud will be a successful product, it has put the spotlight back on to cloud related services. For consumers, it is an exciting time as companies compete for your information to be stored in their cloud. For corporations, they have a massive investment that needs to show returns to support the cloud business model.

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Thing with all these new cloud storage services is that it becomes really difficult to make use of the space properly. I currently have cloud storage on SkyDrive, Dropbox and Amazon's Cloud Drive, but because there isn't a centralized method to make use of the services, I end up fragmenting my documents across a bunch of different sites.

Upload photos to Skydrive and what do you get when you view them online? Icons...not thumbnails. Totally dumb.

Like others here have said, great technology and storage space but hopeless useability.


Tim Garratt said,
Skydrive + Live Mesh is great, Sync my files between my computers and my friends, and the cloud

But it has a 5 GB limit and no option to increase the limit, even for a fee.
I would not mind to pay and have more storage.

Apple just owned this space with their announcements and because it is built into their hardware and software.

'The Cloud', 'Cloud', 'Skydrive' or 'iCloud' Either way the general masses now think of Apple.

Microsoft's consumer based cloud infrastructure is up and running and proven (SkyDrive). With the recent announcements (Windows Phone 7 / Xbox), it will be only a matter of time before the experience on using SkyDrive changes for the better.

As for cloud based music, it remains to been seen, however, it might take time since Microsoft has to deal with legal issues on having user's music uploaded to their servers. It will take time for it, but it weill be there. =)

I've been using SkyDrive just fine for a few years. It will be cool when my Xbox can save to it. Also..."But not to be outdone, Microsoft too has its own cloud service called SkyDrive." should read...iCloud allows iPhone users to join the rest of us who are using SkyDrive and or an Android Phone or Amazon Cloudplayer or Dropbox. Once again Apple...3 years late to the party and the media and fanboys thinks it is magical...when it's really nonsensical.

I'm kinda surprised that no one even noticed or talked about the new Skydrive update to the UI that they're going to release soon. It's getting a very nice looking HTML5 redo, there should be a early screenshot of it out there somewhere.

Broad WP7 SkyDrive integration is coming in the fall as well plus I expect it will get integrated into Win8 also. As far as storing your Music on there, I don't see why not. That's something I expect will happen as well.

Microsoft had the Live Mesh beta a while back. Then they promised they would provide API's to extend it and allow devs to write applications to use it. They had a demo video of it working with Windows Home Server http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs...-Server--Live-Mesh--PDC2008. Resulted in nothing. Microsoft has had ideas for years but never acted on them. They just never act on them until the competition does something similar then they try and claim they were there first. Really stupid strategy.

Panda X said,
Microsoft needs SD integration in W8 and WP7.

It's coming in WP7 with Mango this fall (my bet is on Sept) and Win8 will probably have it integrated into explorer once you set it up so it looks like a natvie harddrive.

GP007 said,

It's coming in WP7 with Mango this fall (my bet is on Sept) and Win8 will probably have it integrated into explorer once you set it up so it looks like a natvie harddrive.

You can use SD in Windows 7 and it looks like a native drive

Panda X said,
Microsoft needs SD integration in W8 and WP7.

well remember in leaked version there is a sync buttom in ribbon explorer (i installed it and its there). and remember xbox life is going to have save stuff on the cloud. so you can pretty much see they are developing for the cloud alot lately. so it would be silly if win8 doesnt have it, since even xbox is going to be able to sync stuff on the cloud. so i bet win8 will have it natively, specially since it will be tablet OS as well

All the cloud big hype will go end in the future. It will become st optional, not essential. I wont trust any cloud service that take care of my documents and pictures

That's what bugs me about Microsoft. They have products out there but there just a pain to use with no clear direction. I have a skydrive account but don't use it. There whole service just reminds me too much of Yahoo. Yahoo has it's own drive-adrive on it's mail as well.

I use google docs instead of microsoft docs because it works better. It's friendlier and easier. Now with iwork going to the cloud it might make me start using that more.

Apple not only brands there products better but they integrate very nicely which makes it much easier across my apple devices. Like Steve says, "It just works" and that's what I want.

If microsoft would just open up skydrive it would be a hundred times more useful than today.

As I understand it, photos and documents uploaded to skydrive are stored in something that looks like a regular filesystem, but it unaccesible from it and somehow different. This means that third party developers can't use it, and that dropbox-style syncing is impossible.


If I could sync my documents folder to skydrive and all my other computers, AND be able to access any documents written on my windows phone, that would be brilliant.

If an innovative developer could find a use for that cloud storage space, as flexible as filespace on a computer's harddrive, that would be brilliant. Imagine being able to sync all files settings for a desktop/phone pair of apps seamlessly.


As it stands, skydrive is extremely difficult and unintuitive to use apart from in very specific windows phone and online web-app situations. Microsoft have the technology here, but they need to leverage it to do something useful.

Quactaur said,

If I could sync my documents folder to skydrive and all my other computers, AND be able to access any documents written on my windows phone, that would be brilliant.

You can always use Live Sync. It pretty much does what you're describing.

I do agree that Microsoft have been working on the cloud for a long time, however i think it's only recently where they have made it a more coherent a integrated platform, before it seemed to be very fragmented with each service seemingly unaware of each others existence. I Hope the integration continues into Windows 8 as they have done really well with Windows Phone 7.

As for the iCloud it's wait and see, good to see they have removed the premium associated with it. I see the iCloud as a platform with Apple adding services as they go along, which is a good idea, as a single big push seems to have shown that it can't be done by Apple. Looking at the other services they have been added bit by bit, such as Google Mail, then google docs, Hotmail then SkyDrive etc..

Microsoft is always playing around with great technologies, but they seem to underestimate the power of their own tech, because they often wait for Apple before doing something noteworthy.

Luis Mazza said,
Microsoft is always playing around with great technologies, but they seem to underestimate the power of their own tech, because they often wait for Apple before doing something noteworthy.

That's a really good observation and I have to agree with you

Luis Mazza said,
Microsoft is always playing around with great technologies, but they seem to underestimate the power of their own tech, because they often wait for Apple before doing something noteworthy.

+1 SkyDrive is great from a technical standpoint, but the usability is not there at all. If they improved that it would be an amazing service. Hopefully with WP7's SkyDrive integration we'll see a better handling of the user experience across the board.

Luis Mazza said,
Microsoft is always playing around with great technologies, but they seem to underestimate the power of their own tech, because they often wait for Apple before doing something noteworthy.

Apple has mastered a way to market their products to the general public in a way that Microsoft hasn't. Apple rarely invents something that didn't exist. Instead, they take technology that already exists and put a level of polish and ease of use on it that other companies haven't thought of. They let everyone else do the heavy lifting while they sit back and find ways to refine it.

Luis Mazza said,
Microsoft is always playing around with great technologies, but they seem to underestimate the power of their own tech, because they often wait for Apple before doing something noteworthy.

Very true indeed.

SkyDrive would be much more better if it was more flexible, 25GB sounds great but the individual file size limit and file format blocks are really annoying, how about lower the storage size to 10GB and let the user do whatever it wants with it.

thealexweb said,
Hence it hampers it's success
Becoming a repository of pirated content is not any legitimate software company's measure of success...

Dashel said,
They did, but the limit is 5GB, not 10. Ante up.

This is kind of true. Skydrive has a total capacity of 25GB, but 5GB can be used via Windows Live Mesh for whatever the hell you want.

/Want more space

ahhell said,
MS doesn't want people to use Skydrive to pirate stuff hence the limitations.

Mind to enlighten me how QuickBooks or Outlook files have to do with piracy?

Skydrive needs a lot of work, and it doesn't have anything available with regards to music like iTunes does. Not to mention, I'd love to host my pictures with Skydrive but I really don't get a good online gallery option.

It is not there yet, but the foundations are good.

Hercules said,
Skydrive needs a lot of work, and it doesn't have anything available with regards to music like iTunes does. Not to mention, I'd love to host my pictures with Skydrive but I really don't get a good online gallery option.

It is not there yet, but the foundations are good.

Um, how are you missing something anyone using SKyDrive probably does on a daily basis?

Keep My Music Online - check - (You can even use Mesh to have all your music online and follow you on computers as well.)
-Listening to a mix right now on my Android phone, from my Skydrive Music folder.

As for iTunes, Go look up Zune. It is software, not just players, like iTunes, except you can do more than just buy music. You can subscribe, and have access to any song at any time from any computer, downloaded for local access and sharing on your network, or even use the web inteface and just listen to whatever you want or your stuff. You can access it on your XBox, WP7, ZuneHD/Zune, PC and even Android if you know the tricks to get the site to open on the phone.

Why people are still buying static quality songs for a $1, when you can have access to millions upon millions upon millions of songs for $15, and get 10 purchased MP3 songs to keep every month.

Hell just my family members that like Glee alone have saved about $300 and had access to the music from the show immediately with Zune Pass, leaving them to feel sorry for their friends that have iPods and are stuck with buying or 'stealing' songs.