Microsoft Completes Its OneDrive Rebranding, Adds Features

Good-bye SkyDrive. Microsoft's cloud storage service goes by a new name and gains some new capabilities.

cloud storage

Microsoft today officially launched OneDrive, the successor to the company's SkyDrive cloud storage service. The software giant retired the brand after the British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB) won a trademark case in the United Kingdom last summer.

Chris Jones, corporate vice president of Windows Services, announced the switch in a Feb. 19 blog post. "Today we are thrilled to announce the global availability of OneDrive," he wrote. Suggesting that the transition should be a smooth one for current SkyDrive customers, Jones said that "your files are ready in the new OneDrive experience."

The changes go beyond OneDrive's name, added Jones. New capabilities include "automatic camera backup for Android and the ability to share and view videos just as easily as photos." Like SkyDrive before it, OneDrive apps are available for iOS, Android and Mac, he said. The software is also bundled with Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox One.

Microsoft is also rolling out a new monthly payment plan and offering 3GB of additional storage for users of the automatic picture upload feature. OneDrive is free for the first 7GB of storage. Prices range from $25 per year for an additional 50GB of storage to $100 per year for an additional 200GB. Users can earn up to 5GB (in 500MB increments) by referring their friends.

OneDrive is Microsoft's answer to popular cloud storage services like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. And like its competitors, Microsoft also offers a business-flavored version of OneDrive (previously SkyDrive Pro). "With OneDrive for Business, companies can give their employees the ability to store, sync, and collaborate on files across multiple devices with ease, manageability, and security," stated Jones.

Before teasing the release of more details at an upcoming conference for Microsoft SharePoint, Jones touted OneDrive for Business Office integration, collaboration features as well as "enterprise-grade content management, compliance, and administrative controls."

Microsoft announced Jan. 27 that it was rebranding SkyDrive as OneDrive, months after Justice Sarah Asplin of the England and Wales High Court found that SkyDrive infringed on BSkyB's trademarks. She ruled "if one undertakes a global assessment, there is every reason to conclude that there is a likelihood of confusion in the average consumer in the sense that there is a risk that the public might believe that the services come from the same undertaking or one which is economically linked."

Following the court decision, the companies announced that "Sky will allow Microsoft to continue using the SkyDrive name for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand." That new brand would echo a big theme that is guiding the software giant's transition into a devices and services company.

"When we announced the new name OneDrive, we noted how it is much more aligned with our vision for the future," said Jones. "Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to get all of your favorite stuff in one place—one place that is accessible via all of the devices you use every day, at home and at work."

Similarly, while in the midst of a sweeping reorganization, his company is pursuing a strategy called "One Microsoft." Seeking a tightly aligned portfolio of products and services, Microsoft has streamlined its corporate structure, made a $7 billion bid for handset maker Nokia and installed a new CEO, former cloud chief Satya Nadella.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...