Microsoft (News - Alert) announced on Friday that its SkyDrive file hosting service had eclipsed one billion uploads. The cloud-based service, launched in 2007, allows up to 7 GB of storage free of charge. A new feature allows users to collaborate on documents via the SkyDrive and Office Web Apps services without logging into their Microsoft account.
According to a PC Magazine article, Sarah Filman, Microsoft's project manager for Sky Drive, Office Web Apps and Office 365, customer feedback drove the change to allow editing without logging in:
"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."
The flexibility of the collaboration feature allows documents to be edited simultaneously or individually. The owner of the document, if so desired, can choose to require logging in to edit as a security measure.
Without any data on the usage of Google (News - Alert) Docs, it's hard to determine how much of an accomplishment this is for Microsoft. It might be analogous to an aspiring actress announcing a Golden Globe nomination, while Meryl Streep is in the room.
SkyDrive also has syncing features that work well with Windows 8 and Windows Phone (News - Alert). Other platforms must access the files online.
Dropbox by comparison, supports several platforms. For mobile devices they support iPhone, iPad, Android (News - Alert) and BlackBerry, and intend to support other platforms, according to its website. On the desktop, they support Windows, Mac and Linux systems.
Nonetheless, one billion is a large number and given the number of tech startups that never reach the level of magnitude in the millions of anything, Microsoft has accomplished something noteworthy that is proof it has adjusted to the post-software-centric era of technology. The question that many market observers must be asking now is whether or not accomplishments like these are enough to position Microsoft to dominate again as it did 20 years ago, or if it’s another aspect of the business that plays second fiddle to companies like Google and Dropbox (News - Alert).
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