updated 02:55 pm EDT, Mon April 23, 2012
Microsoft intros SkyDrive preview desktop apps
Microsoft quickly confirmed rumors and has posted preview versions of both Windows Vista/7/8 and OS X Lion desktop apps while curbing the reach of its cloud service. The software now lets users more directly organize their cloud storage, automatically syncing anything loaded into a SkyDrive folder and sorting its contents as though it were offline. The iOS app has also been updated (App Store to get native iPad support, including for the higher-resolution visuals of the new iPad along with deleting renaming, and moving files in the cloud.
In a step back, however, the company has dropped the free amount of storage from 25GB to 7GB. The company justified the scaling back by claiming that 99.94 percent of users need less than 7GB. Existing users could also "lock in" 25GB for free during a limited period by signing into their accounts and choosing an upgrade to 25GB.
As hinted, paid tiers are part of the focus and are helped by reducing the free storage. An extra $10 per year nets 20GB on top of any free capacity. Paying $25 a year adds 50GB, and $50 per year boosts the capacity by an extra 100GB, up to 125GB for earlier adopters.
The steps are meant to help compete with services like Dropbox that have had some stronger elements of desktop storage for some time. To a minor extent, it also focuses on sync services like iCloud by providing an option that's available on most common devices for document sharing across platforms.