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Microsoft to challenge iCloud with SkyDrive OS X client

post #1 of 74
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Microsoft is readying a significant update to SkyDrive in Windows 8, and reportedly leaked screenshots of the revamped file syncing and cloud storage service show that a Mac OS X client could be poised to compete with Apple's iCloud.

The purported SkyDrive images were posted on Saturday by Brazilian blog Gemind, and show demo downloads () for Windows or Mac apps that will allow for automatic syncing, storage and remote access to files from the cloud.

Also of note are paid storage options that can be purchased in 20GB, 50GB or 100GB flavors for approximately $10, $25 or $50 per year, respectively.

The extra space will supplement the already copious 25GB in free storage offered by SkyDrive. In comparison, iCloud only offers 5GB of free cloud storage, however Apple's system does not count Photo Stream, iTunes' media, apps and iBooks against the limit.

According to Microsoft's blog, the Metro-style cloud-based Windows 8 app will share characteristics with Dropbox in that users can sync and backup certain files automatically, though SkyDrive goes further and allows limited remote access to files not synced to the cloud. Maximum file size for remote file fetching is pegged at 2GB.


Screenshot of purported Microsoft SkyDrive Windows and Mac client downloads. | Source: Gemind


Ars Technica points out that website LiveSide.net also posted screenshots that showed SkyDrive would support file sharing through social networks like Twitter and Facebook, BitLocker recovery keys, OpenDocument files from Office Web Apps and URL shortening.

iCloud's current file-syncing implementation is aimed mainly at iOS users who can backup device profiles and data to the cloud. Apple's free service does support certain automatic syncing to OS X programs such as Photo Stream and a clunky Pages document syncing procedure, but the process is not as smooth as other third-party solutions.

This situation could change when OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is released this summer as many iOS features like Notification Center and iMessage will be ported to the desktop operating system, though no official word has been given regarding iCloud upgrades.

Apple has invested heavily in iCloud, and the service which was introduced alongside iOS 5 could be getting more features, as previous reports that the company offered to buy Dropbox in a failed nine figure deal point to a definite interest in automatic file storage and syncing.


SkyDrive's social network sharing feature. | Source: LiveSide.net


The SkyDrive update is set to launch later this year with support for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 already announced.

It remains to be seen which Windows 8 SkyDrive features will be implemented in the rumored Mac client, if any, and to what extent the service will affect iCloud.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 74
Nothing but good can come of this. iCloud needs competition.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #3 of 74
I use Microsoft Live Mesh already on all my Macs. It gives me UNLIMITED GB of syncing across three machines. There is no cloud storage, but I don't need it if it is syncing to all my machines (about 230GB and works flawlessly).

It looks like SkyDrive and Live Mesh have a lot of overlap...I don't know why they can't just combine the products into one.
post #4 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Nothing but good can come of this. iCloud needs competition.

True.

Seems like more of a DropBox killer than an iCloud killer to me though.
Maybe it will make Apple bring back some kind of unstructured file storage to iCloud which is really the only thing missing.
post #5 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Maybe it will make Apple bring back some kind of unstructured file storage to iCloud which is really the only thing missing.

There are APIs for iCloud that would let Dropbox, SugarSync, anyone with some Objective-C knowledge, and even MS create their own hierarchal storage system that syncs via iCloud.

Also, even with the Open dialogue box in apps for iCloud there is a structured file system, but it's been simplified to match that of the iOS Home Screen as access from iDevices is the main reason for its inclusion.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #6 of 74
Apple is going down! Daddy has come to the party!
post #7 of 74
Much more info has been announced today on the Building Windows 8 blog, the best overview I have seen is here:
http://www.winsupersite.com/article/...kydrive-142301
Video of Skydrive on Windows 8 here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjGwfden3sU
While Skydrive and iCloud may be different things, most of the functionality (except iTunes Match), will also be present in Windows 8, with roaming of system settings, app settings and current states, passwords, customization, etc.

The supposed screenshots of Skydrive on OSX, just show the current web interface, with the option of buying more space. I'd expect Microsoft will anounce a standalone Skydrive app for OSX at a later date.
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2...windows-8.aspx
post #8 of 74
I've used SkyDrive a few times and found it to be cumbersome, slow and very poor. I switched to Dropbox last year and it's brilliant. Like night and day. If they offered a bit more than 2GB free more people would switch.

Also, I had a friend who uploaded some "adult" content to their SkyDrive account. Within a few hours they received an email informing them that they had breached the terms of their account and it was being closed. How did Microsoft know? They must monitor what people put into their SkyDrive accounts.
post #9 of 74
I see this as a good thing. Even though I will never, ever use any Windows OS, I don't have anything in particular against MS.

I have 2.5 Gb on my dropbox account, and if MS is offering basically the same service, but with 25 Gbs, then that's great!

I have iCloud, but I don't really see that as the same thing. I just use iCloud as an extra backup system for my iDevices.
post #10 of 74
I think the best strategy for MS at this point is to fully embrace both OSX and iOS. They should stop the practice of artificially limiting what they sell on Apple's platforms just to prop up Windows. I hope this is a step in that direction.
post #11 of 74
Maybe - just MAYBE - this will make up for snubbing us Mac users for so long on the Zune sync client. I'll hafta think about it.
post #12 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

Maybe - just MAYBE - this will make up for snubbing us Mac users for so long on the Zune sync client. I'll hafta think about it.

Microsoft is Apple's second-oldest enemy. Steve trusted Bill, but Bill stole from Steve. Nobody can forgive that.
post #13 of 74
Pretty telling that Microsoft are offering PC or Mac! Not feeling so dominant now eh?
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #14 of 74
If you're an all-Apple user, no other cloud solution makes more sense than iCloud..
post #15 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

If you're an all-Apple user, no other cloud solution makes more sense than iCloud..

iCloud seems geared toward personal use, not for sharing. Dropbox and other services are absolutely great for sharing with others.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #16 of 74
Agree competition is great. Now where is he iPad app?
post #17 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

If you're an all-Apple user, no other cloud solution makes more sense than iCloud..

Not true at all.

Can somebody upload whatever they want to iCloud and either store it or share it with somebody else?
post #18 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

Also, I had a friend who uploaded some "adult" content to their SkyDrive account. Within a few hours they received an email ......

A "friend"?
post #19 of 74
iCloud, Skydrive ... Dropbox sounds so ... down to earth in comparison.
post #20 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

If you're an all-Apple user, no other cloud solution makes more sense than iCloud..

Well, you did say "all-Apple" user, but I am a mostly Apple user, and if this creates a non-Google calendar syncing solution for me at work without having to use iTunes (prohibited), that doesn't force me to manually drag each item to iCloud folders, I am in!

iPhone 5 64GB, iPhone 4S 16GB, mid-2011 iMac, Apple TV 2nd Gen, iPod Nano

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iPhone 5 64GB, iPhone 4S 16GB, mid-2011 iMac, Apple TV 2nd Gen, iPod Nano

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post #21 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

Also, I had a friend who uploaded some "adult" content to their SkyDrive account. Within a few hours they received an email informing them that they had breached the terms of their account and it was being closed. How did Microsoft know? They must monitor what people put into their SkyDrive accounts.

If you compress your file in .RAR, especially if password protected, their system won't be able to weed out copyrighted material by looking for code sequences. I don't think .ZIP would work as that that can be read in a compressed form.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #22 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Nothing but good can come of this. iCloud needs competition.

Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

Maybe - just MAYBE - this will make up for snubbing us Mac users for so long on the Zune sync client. I'll hafta think about it.

What's a Zune?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

A "friend"?

I always appreciate an Android fan who puts his energy into advertising Apple products.
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I always appreciate an Android fan who puts his energy into advertising Apple products.
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post #23 of 74
Microsoft will win this one. Apple just doesn't know how to run stable Internet services. Sorry but iTunes and the appStore do not count.
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post #24 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

There are APIs for iCloud that would let Dropbox, SugarSync, anyone with some Objective-C knowledge, and even MS create their own hierarchal storage system that syncs via iCloud.

Also, even with the Open dialogue box in apps for iCloud there is a structured file system, but it's been simplified to match that of the iOS Home Screen as access from iDevices is the main reason for its inclusion.

I haven't noticed any option to un-flatten the files in any iCloud app file space to date (maybe it's in the APIs?), but with the sandboxing of files for specific apps, I don't think you'd get the same functionality as you do with Dropbox & Co. even if you can make it hierarchical. Lots of files visible only to the Dropbox app would be pretty limiting. I really wish iCloud had allowed assigning of file types to apps as is normal, the UI could automatically aggregate those file types for you on the server and present faster-access views, but you could still share items. Keep it flat if you want, do folders if you want, etc. And share with apps on your desktop.

The sandboxed file thing is definitely pretty limiting - which I think is why OSX has the file open that can allow files from anywhere to be opened into an app without allowing the apps to directly break out of their own sandbox. Of course, even then - that app can't aggregate things itself, and you then hope that Apple provides every type of view you could ever want for apps in the App Store, though fortunately it sounds like signed apps outside the store can still do whatever they need to do.
post #25 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Apple just doesn't know how to run stable Internet services.

iCloud utilises AWS and Azure. I'm sure Apple will continue to bring more stuff in-house, but they always have those two solid mature cloud platforms to fall back on if something goes wrong.

What do you think the chances are of Microsoft utilising AWS or Google App Engine if something goes wrong
post #26 of 74
All of these services are partial solutions, but you can mix and match to meet your needs. For example, iCloud gives me access to my media files for free without uploading them: all 1.5 TB of them. No one else can match that. However, iCloud's weak spot is synchronizing files. Dropbox is mediocre with this too, because I'd have to use a single special folder and rearrange things. SugarSync lets me designate any folders and any number of folders I like as sync folders. Since text files are compact, I'm using less than half the free 6GB there. For me, iCloud and SugarSync make an ideal combination--for me. Maybe for some people, Microsoft's Skydrive will be a partial solution. Imagine: iCloud + SugarSync + Dropbox + SkyDrive is 20GB of free space right there.

I see no reason to use only one of these services.
post #27 of 74
I wish iCloud had a DropBox type service attached to it. I'd like to be able manage my iCloud files and to up and download files as per a good old fashioned file system. I wouldn't mind if this was paid add-on.

I also think iCloud should have a mm type Gallery feature. Less limiting and faster than mm gallery, but something that easily integrates with iPhoto.

iCloud works an invisible automated service. This is good but it could/should be so much more.
post #28 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by OskiO View Post

I use Microsoft Live Mesh already on all my Macs. It gives me UNLIMITED GB of syncing across three machines. There is no cloud storage, but I don't need it if it is syncing to all my machines (about 230GB and works flawlessly).

It looks like SkyDrive and Live Mesh have a lot of overlap...I don't know why they can't just combine the products into one.

That's what this is... kind of.

It looks more like a take-over than a merger.

Live Mesh appears to be gone. The alternative (note I didn't say "replacement") is a SkyDrive sync client that syncs a selected folder of files to SkyDrive and allows you to browse back to the files on that PC.

I didn't see any mention of the PC-to-PC sync functionality that you use.
post #29 of 74
no thanks. No crap Microsoft software on my mac...sorry. Skydrive is a garbage Dropbox clone.
post #30 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

no thanks. No crap Microsoft software on my mac...sorry. Skydrive is a garbage Dropbox clone.

Live Mesh predates Dropbox. Saying Skydrive is a Dropbox clone is like saying iPhone is a Windows Phone clone.
post #31 of 74
This is good news! Apple is slowly becoming Microsoftand believe me, it pains me to say it. Apple needs a swift kick in the pants. iCloud and all its syncing headaches are inexcusable. And taking away functionality in order to make OS features look more like the iOS counterparts is just dumb. EXCUSE ME, I work on my Mac. Lion is a joke. Tiger was Apple's most innovative, positive step forward, followed by Snow Leopard. This 20-year Mac user is not happy.
post #32 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by xSamplex View Post

Apple is going down! Daddy has come to the party!

You'right!

As Slappy would say:

Apple is DOOMED, DOOMED, I tell you DOOMED
post #33 of 74
I tried Skydrive last year. It stinks. It wouldn't work very well. The navigation was nearly impossible to work with when trying to find files. Eventually when it was too difficult to use I deleted everything on it. The problem was that it took a long time to find the right links and tabs to get to the delete files button. I hated Microsoft before trying Skydrive. I now hate Microsoft even more.

Today I needed to use Vista for work. I booted it on the HP computer instead of Ubuntu. The damn OS didn't recognize the modem for some reason. I switched to Ubuntu to check the modem and it was fine. I rebooted into Vista and the modem was working again. I didn't change anything to cause it to stop working or start working again. I HATE MICROSOFT AND VISTA!!!!!!!!!
post #34 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

There are APIs for iCloud that would let Dropbox, SugarSync, anyone with some Objective-C knowledge, and even MS create their own hierarchal storage system that syncs via iCloud.

Also, even with the Open dialogue box in apps for iCloud there is a structured file system, but it's been simplified to match that of the iOS Home Screen as access from iDevices is the main reason for its inclusion.

I didn't know about the API stuff (which is interesting), but it doesn't help me at all really.

I like to keep things simple so I like to get all my online services form one place which has always been Apple. I don't even have a DropBox account because I find the idea of keeping stuff in two places somewhere between annoying and stressful (or perhaps both).

Despite the fact that the speed was always atrocious and the reliability poor, I miss the iDisk feature where one can share a large file with someone else. It's really one of the big problems most people have today and unless you have some storage space in the cloud it's really just not possible.

I don't even care about file hierarchies and so forth or how many levels deep the file system is. I just want to be able to either send or share a file with a family member without having to burn it to a plastic disk and put it in the post.

With iCloud, everything is locked down to the app and to your own personal devices. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to share your stuff with other people. I realise they are doing it this way at least in part because they don't really *want* you to share your stuff (because people have a habit of sharing illegally etc.), but I find it annoying and a bit insulting that this presumption is being made.

I don't see why if I'm paying for iCloud and have tons of storage space, that I have to pay for more storage through DropBox and manage yet another online account and password, just because they *assume* that I'm going to share some hollywood movie.

In the original leaked plans for iCloud there was going to be something like a FileVault that one could throw files in and have them synced between all your devices but also (crucially) share them with other people.
post #35 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

If you compress your file in .RAR, especially if password protected, their system won't be able to weed out copyrighted material by looking for code sequences. I don't think .ZIP would work as that that can be read in a compressed form.

Kind of not the point though. This kind of fascist censorship completely eliminates SkyDrive from consideration for many people if the account is true. They have no right to look at your files. In Europe they could be taken to court over such behaviour.

I find it humorous that this kind of thing is somehow okay in the "land of the free," when the only proper response is outrage.
post #36 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by avidmac View Post

iCloud and all its syncing headaches are inexcusable.

Mac Pro: Type in my credentials.
MacBook Pro: Type in my credentials.
iPad: Type in my credentials.

Synced.

Quote:
And taking away functionality in order to make OS features look more like the iOS counterparts is just dumb.

So, pray tell, what was 'taken away' in Lion? Other than Rosetta, obviously.
post #37 of 74
This is a competitor to DropBox, not iCloud. iCloud is not about file sharing. iCloud is all about letting you use your iOS devices without the need for a computer, so that people who do not otherwise need a computer can just buy an iOS device and use it untethered. iCloud was necessary for performing several functions that you could not otherwise do without a computer such as:

- Backing up your device, including applications and their data (SkyDrive cannot do this)
- Restoring your device from backup (SkyDrive cannot do this)
- Backing up your photos (SkyDrive cannot do this automatically)
- Transferring photos from one device to another (SkyDrive cannot do this automatically)
- Synchronizing data within your apps, between your devices (SkyDrive could potentially do this at a file level, if the app developer choses to use SkyDrive as their cloud solution, but iCloud has deep integration with Core Data and makes this so much easier for developers. Also, iCloud is already built-in, free, and doesn't require you to log in with each app and device you want to sync.)
- Backing up and re-downloading your iTunes purchases (iTunes Match)

I think competition is good, but comparing SkyDrive to iCloud is sensationalist journalism at it's best, and making this comparison shows quite a bit of ignorance as to what the technology does and what it is for.
post #38 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Nothing but good can come of this. iCloud needs competition.

Sure thing. But iCloud, in my mind, is first and foremost almost kind of a filesystem, automatically duplicating everything. iTunes Match? Not out of your storage space. Buy something on iTunes, no charge for space.

We'll see. Right now, Amazon kind of pairs the storage with the music store, etc. Apple now does the same. As programmers figure out how to use iCloud in their apps, it will be very strong.

But all the better for competition.
post #39 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryA View Post

Well, you did say "all-Apple" user, but I am a mostly Apple user, and if this creates a non-Google calendar syncing solution for me at work without having to use iTunes (prohibited), that doesn't force me to manually drag each item to iCloud folders, I am in!

Why is iTunes prohibited? Do you go to a Jesuit college?
post #40 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Kind of not the point though. This kind of fascist censorship completely eliminates SkyDrive from consideration for many people if the account is true. They have no right to look at your files. In Europe they could be taken to court over such behaviour.

I find it humorous that this kind of thing is somehow okay in the "land of the free," when the only proper response is outrage.

I don't know of any such service that doesn't comply with DMCA.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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