With 25GB of absolutely no strings attached free storage, SkyDrive has always been an amazing value. Of course that’s not to say its best in class, far from it actually for one key reason; it’s painfully difficult to access. Logging into the SkyDrive site using Windows Live is easy enough, but having to add files one at a time is painfully in-efficient. If you modify a photo for example, you need to download it fully, make your changes, upload the new version, and then manually delete the old one. Office Web Apps integration and batch file adding have helped, but it is still no substitute for Dropbox. If the rumors are correct though, this could all be changing soon. Both paid storage, along with Windows and OS X clients are apparently just around the corner.
The evidence of paid storage options comes in the form a leaked screenshot, and if it’s a fake, it’s a pretty darn convincing one. All accounts get to keep the initial 25GB for free, but users will soon have the option to add on 20GB for $10 per year, 50GB for $25, or 100GB for $50. This makes it extremely competitive with Dropbox who currently only offers 50GB for $99 per year, or 100GB for $199.
The PC and Mac clients will join the recently released iOS and Windows Phone offerings, and while the exact functionality they will offer is not known, we can only speculate it will only be storage access only, and not sync. Dropbox for example gives users the option to edit files offline, and then have them sync to the cloud and other devices when they come online. Microsoft’s current sync offering comes in the form of Live Mesh, and is a completely separate offering from SkyDrive. Microsoft could merge these two services of course, and would be wise to do so, but it’s unknown when, or if ever that will ever happen.
Either way it looks like SkyDrive is about to get much more useful.
(Image Credit = gemind.com.br)
UPDATE: After publishing we also caught wind of the fact that Microsoft is adding support for ODF documents, BitLocker key management, URL shortening and more.