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Its been a few months since I first reported on Microsoft being forced to rename SkyDrive, and just a few weeks ago we learned that the service would be transitioning to the moniker "OneDrive." The initial announcement said that it would take several weeks for the new branding to be fully implemented, and today Microsoft's cloud storage service is now officially named OneDrive.
Visiting Skydrive.com redirects you to the OneDrive site as does OneDrive.com, but the official URL is OneDrive.live.com, something that may be confusing to some non-technical customers. Microsoft has only changed the service's name and all functionality appears to have remained the same. New users who sign up receive 7GB of free storage space and an additional 500MB for each additional user they invite to the service. Additionally, users who opt into auto backing up images from their smartphone receive an additional 3GB of free storage space.
"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. Because let's face it, until now, cloud storage services have been pretty hard to use, and the vast majority of us still have our stuff spread out everywhere," said Microsoft's Chris Jones. "In fact, according to a recent poll, at least 77 percent of people who are familiar with the cloud still have content stored on a device that is not backed up elsewhere. We want to change that."
Microsoft has just made a big change to its cloud storage service, where it has changed its name from SkyDrive to OneDrive. This is something that has gone into effect today.
The software giant has also updated its Android app, which now features automatic camera backups that will see your precious moments automatically uploaded to your OneDrive account. Microsoft is also rolling out monthly storage plans, which start at $4.49 per month for 50GB, ranging up to $11.49 per month for 200GB.
Enterprise IT spending will mainly focus helping companies move forward with cloud computing and mobile-based services, while overall budgets are increasing. Mobile app development should see a strong boost in 2014, with decision makers hoping to keep users productive and customers happy.
"One of the learnings we had early last year when we were starting to play with cloud technologies was that there was always a risk of something like this happening," said Hugh Scott, Energy Plus CIO, when speaking of a recent Amazon Web Services outage. The downtime hit Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and countless other services that had to deal with upset customers.
Both Google and VMware recently announced a joint effort to accelerate development of corporate desktops, powered for the "Mobile Cloud Era." The service is designed to provide businesses and enterprises with access to a secure cloud on desktops, smartphones, and mobile devices.
New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella plans to spend a large portion of his early days at Microsoft moving the company forward in the mobile and cloud markets.
Cloud computing is predicted to reach $121.1 billion by 2015, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets, though other analysts guess the market will have a difficult time in 2014. Embracing the cloud gives users the chance to utilize a scalable and cost-effective way to access and share information from any Web-connected device.
For companies trying to sell cloud services to the consumer or B2B markets, it's quickly coming down to service quality. Any company trying to drive innovation in the cloud market must pay attention to good product support, customer support, and clear lines of communication with users.
Companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon tend to get a lot of headlines for their respective cloud efforts, though software providers like Red Hat and CA are expected to have a difficult time growing this year.
Following criticism accusing Microsoft of giving the National Security Agency (NSA) easy access to customer data, Microsoft is now allowing overseas customers to keep their information stored outside of the United States.
"People should have the ability to know whether their data are being subjected to the laws and access of governments in some other country, and should have the ability to make an informed choice of where their data resides," said Brad Smith, Microsoft General Counsel, in a statement to reporters.
If this happens, it will mark one of the more drastic moves by companies trying to limit concern over the access NSA has to documents, files, and personal information. Other companies prefer to keep information stored in the U.S., even with NSA snooping concerns, and will follow Microsoft's overseas effort carefully.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has continually denied that the NSA has a Microsoft-created backdoor to access information ranging from customer data to cloud access to browse files.
During the first half of last year, Microsoft found itself in a bit of hot water when the British Sky Broadcasting Group took Redmond to court over the SkyDrive name. Following the courts ruling, Microsoft agreed to change its cloud service's name to something else. Today, more than six months later, the new name has arrived.
Microsoft SkyDrive will now be known as Microsoft One Drive, and the company says that the re-branding will take place soon, and that no changes will be made to the service that affects your data. In a statement, Microsoft said: The Service "will continue to operate as you expect and all of your content will be available on OneDrive and OneDrive for Business respectively as the new name is rolled out across the portfolio."
"Changing the name of a product as loved as SkyDrive wasn't easy," admits Microsoft's Ryan Gavin. "We are excited about what is to come, and can't wait to share more." Gavin's statement leads us to believe that Microsoft is planning the launch of new features for OneDrive, but with the service already fully featured, I am not sure what else they could add.
The battle for cloud computing supremacy recently accelerated to a new level, with Amazon and Microsoft both slashing prices to stay competitive. Amazon should stay the leader in public cloud offerings, but Microsoft's immediate response indicated it's a fight that will continue for the foreseeable future.
From the Microsoft website: Here are the details... We are matching AWS' lowest prices (US East Region) for S3 and EBS by reducing prices by up to 20% and making the lower prices available in all regions worldwide. For Locally Redundant Disks/Page Blobs Storage we are reducing prices by up to 28%. We are also reducing the price of Azure Storage transactions by 50%.
Amazon cut prices for the S3 storage prices by 22 percent, while the EBS Standard volume storage and I/O operations saw a price cut up to 50 percent.
In the future, both companies will continue to roll out enhanced features with more competitive pricing, so consumers and business users have more flexibility in choosing a service. Google, IBM, Rackspace, and other established cloud vendors also have cut prices to undercut competitors and force additional sales and marketing efforts from rivals.
IBM recently announced the newest generation of its X-Architecture for System x and PureSystems, as the company continues to focus on business clients. As more companies embrace cloud computing and big data analytics, there is a need for a modern architecture that is scalable to support changing business needs. Of note, the IBM X6 provides three times more scalable memory than rival X86-based systems, with up to 12.8 terabytes of flash memory support.
"Our enterprise X-Architecture for x86-based servers and solutions delivers high performance and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry, making us number one in hig-end x86 systems," said Adalio Sanchez, IBM x86 general manager, in a statement. "We continue to innovate and deliver leadership performance, reliability and investment protection for mission-critical workloads with X6."
IBM remains an industry leader in enterprise technologies, though tends to not grab the same amount of media attention as rivals.
According to John Dinsdale, an analyst at market research Synergy, Amazon "dwarfs all competition" when it comes to cloud computing. Considering the total cloud computing market pulled in a total revenue of $2.5 billion in Q3 alone, this is a big market.
Amazon took most of this revenue, growing its own cloud revenues by 55%, as well as increasing its overall market share. The problem is, Amazon doesn't report just how much money it makes in the cloud, as it throws its cloud-based revenue into the "other revenue" category. It's estimated that Amazon will generate over $3 billion from its cloud business this year.
This hasn't stopped Synergy from pushing out estimates that Amazon had cloud revenues of around $700 million, making Amazon's cloud business more profitable than that of Microsoft, IBM, Google and Salesforce.com... combined, by 15%.
Sony is doing wonders behind the cloud, thanks to its acquisition of cloud gaming service Gaikai last year. But what is Microsoft doing? Well, according to 'sources familiar with a meeting' who revealed to The Verge, it has shown off Halo 4 running on a Windows Phone and PC, both streaming the first-person shooter from the cloud.
It's currently just a concept project, but reportedly ran smoothly on both devices, with the Redmond-based giant getting the latency on a Lumia 520 down to just 45ms. The demonstration at Microsoft had a Windows Phone with an Xbox controller attached through an accessory, and a low-end hybrid PC. The company doesn't have a name for its cloud-based service just yet, but it should be quite the announcement when Microsoft decides to out the service.
We could see Microsoft pushing out backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games to the X box One, with Microsoft's Senior Director of Xbox, Albert Penello, saying: "it could be more complicated things like rendering full games like a Gaikai and delivering it to the box."