SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud file-sharing and storage platform, crossed a big milestone. In the wake of the blog post.
Shahine wrote, "Last week Office 365 Home Premium launched and we've seen a lot of enthusiasm over the seamless integration of SkyDrive for saving and sharing your docs. Recently, we reached a big milestone; our customers are now storing over a billion Office documents on SkyDrive!"
Apart from ushering in a hybrid PC application and cloud subscription model for consumers, Office 365 Home Premium also features extensive SkyDrive integration. Subscribers also get an additional 20GB of cloud storage.
Microsoft isn't only targeting Office users. SkyDrive features prominently on its Surface tablets and Windows 8 operating system where it appears as one of the default save locations.
Microsoft used the announcement as an opportunity to implement an oft-requested feature.
"One piece of feedback we've consistently heard, especially from students, is that our current SkyDrive edit links can be frustrating for recipients when they find that they need to sign in or sign up for a Microsoft account just to make a quick edit to the document," stated SkyDrive lead program manager Sarah Filman.
Starting today, a Microsoft account is no longer a prerequisite for collaborating on Office documents shared via SkyDrive.
Users who wish to share their documents can generate an "edit link," which takes recipients to a Web-based document editor that delivers much of the same functionality of the Office PC desktop and Web applications. For added control and security, "we recommend inviting specific people via their email addresses and checking the 'require user to sign-in' check box," suggested Filman.
The move indicates that Microsoft is willing to loosen the reins a little in order to take on big rivals like Google.
In April, Google launched GDrive in response to the growing popularity of cloud file storage services like Dropbox and Microsoft's own SkyDrive. While a welcome addition for users of Google's cloud app ecosystem, it was hardly the slam dunk that industry watchers anticipated.
Noting GDrive's limited device support at launch, eWEEK's Wayne Rash concluded, "If I had to pick one of these services at this point in time, it would be the new version of SkyDrive. I can find a SkyDrive client for every device in my office, and they all work. That's something I can't do with Google Drive. But that may change, and if it does, then what matters is if the cloud service supports the devices you need."
Meanwhile, Microsoft has been working to stay competitive in the cloud storage wars.
Last summer, Microsoft rolled out a big update for SkyDrive that ushered in a streamlined UI and included a new Android app, an enhanced API and features like a contextual toolbar and instant search. Recently, the company announced that it was shutting down Live Mesh, its cloud file synchronization service.
Where will its 25,000 active users turn? Microsoft is hoping that they will join the millions of users on SkyDrive for their cloud storage and sharing needs.
David Kornfield, product marketer, stated, "With the significant investments in bringing the DNA of Mesh together with SkyDrive, there are now over 200 million people that have used SkyDrive, and more and more are making the move every day."