The Problem With SkyDrive

I love SkyDrive and the folks behind it. They’ve had a product and service that’s been in the background of all my systems quietly doing its magic and letting me access my data, in other words, it’s been doing its job without me even knowing what it’s doing.

Live Mesh and SkyDrive have been working together to give me sync and cloud access. Unfortunately, all that’s about to change with Microsoft’s SkyDrive now turning into Dropbox. In doing so Microsoft achieved this:

  • Made the service simpler
  • Disappointed power users

Why? Because…

  • Live Mesh offered any folder sync, SkyDrive now offers one folder sync
  • Live Mesh let me choose which devices should the folders be available on (cloud only, cloud+other PC, other PC only)

This is Microsoft taking one step forward, and two backwards. However, for the common user, SkyDrive is by far the best solution today, an opinion shared by most tech pundits. More storage is cheap, multi-platform clients, remote access through the browser, etc. However here’s what happened and what I fear for Microsoft:

  • Dropbox succeeded because it is simple
  • SkyDrive copied Dropbox and compromised—made something awesome into something simple (this does not mean Mesh was complicated)

This means for any Microsoft’s competitor, they need to simply offer what Mesh canned while keeping everything as simple. Microsoft had it till yesterday, now they don’t.