Can Microsoft's SkyDrive compete with iCloud?
There are many competitors to Apple's iCloud - Amazon's Cloud Drive, Box.net, DropBox, Microsoft's SkyDrive and SugarSync.
Microsoft's SkyDrive has unique advantage to grow more in the coming days. It can make great strides if it can offer a perfect platform that offer user friendly features plus skin that make the usage of SkyDrive not only compatible among Microsoft’s own products but also across various Operating Systems. iCloud is popular on Apple devices, SkyDrive is popular on Microsoft based products.
It is common that Apple tries to incorporate more friendly features for iOS based users just as Microsoft incorporates more friendly features for Windows users. Compatibility among Operating Systems and across products will create win-win situation for any Cloud based service provider in the market. Strong affinity to one segment of products and rigidity to move across other applications will be detrimental to the growth in the long run.
In addition to integration of its services with Windows 8, there will be closer integration of SkyDrive with web browser. A new set of features to be launched by Microsoft will equip it to compete with iCloud. Most of these new features are likely to reflect in the coming version, SkyDrive Wave 5. New features will accommodate open source technologies as well. Users will be able to store and manage BitLocker recovery keys on SkyDrive. Shared files can be shortened by using URL shortening service. These links can be shared directly with your Twitter followers.
The most interesting part is the launch of a new application both for Windows and Mac. This new measure will facilitate you use SkyDrive not only from the browser but also through the application. You can browse files stored on SkyDrive similar to the way you browse files on your own computer. Even though it is not mentioned by Microsoft as to how these new features will be applicable to earlier versions of Windows and Mac, new features will help users to access data stored on SkyDrive from any PC.
Microsoft has to address issues related to interoperability among its own products. It has to address compatibility issues as well. Users should be able to access SkyDrive not only with the current versions of applications but also with new versions to be launched in the coming days. It is not only integration of SkyDrive along with Microsoft’s own products, but also integration with various other Operating Systems like Apple, Mac and older versions of Windows which gives sense that SkyDrive may compete with iCloud. It is also not only the availability of free space but also the enhancement of features and portability that will attract new visitors. User friendly features like drag and drop and manageability should be enhanced on SkyDrive.
As of now, users can get 25 GB free space from SkyDrive subscription. Users can pay extra for extra usage. These charges are expected to be designed in a more competitive manner. SkyDrive offers decent data storage and synchronization facilities. It is to be noted that other cloud based storage systems like DropBox and Box.net currently fare better than SkyDrive. Microsoft has to enhance its product in such a way that it can retain Microsoft users and attract other users as well by offering user-friendly features.