Microsoft Renames SkyDrive, Intros OneDrive For Business

Microsoft made it official Wednesday, changing the name of its SkyDrive cloud service to OneDrive. The rebranding of its cloud service ends a legal battle with British Sky Broadcasting Group, which owned the rights to the SkyDrive name.

As part of the rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive, Microsoft rolled out several incentives, including an additional free 3 GB of storage for trying out a new photo-backup feature that works with Android devices, along with up to 5 GB of additional storage for referring people to the service.

With Wednesday's news, Microsoft also is trying to up OneDrive's appeal to businesses with OneDrive for Business. The business service, Microsoft said, is aimed at giving employees the ability to store, sync and collaborate on files across multiple devices. Microsoft said more details about the service would be revealed at its SharePoint Conference on March 3.

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Larry Velez, CTO and founder of Sinu, a New York-based MSP partnering with both Google and Microsoft, said while SkyDrive's appeal was to the consumer, he hopes OneDrive for Business will go deeper into the enterprise for his customers mirroring Microsoft's own file system technology, NTFS.

"Whether it's Microsoft, Google or Dropbox, what all these services really need to do is replace the back-office local file server. None of the above have the type of advanced folder sharing for groups, comprehensive permission schemes and syncing to local directories needed. Right now, OneBox for Business is a mystery to me. If it can solve those problems, I'll give it a serious look,"Velez said.

Microsoft had revealed the rebranding on Jan. 27 to OneDrive. The name change, according to a blog post by Chris Jones, corporate vice president, Windows Services, is about getting "aligned with our vision for the future."

OneDrive, Jones said, is tied to Redmond's "One Microsoft" strategy. The branding is designed to support the company's long-term strategy to "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," wrote Jones.

In addition, the first 100,000 customers who access their OneDrive account will receive an additional 100 GB of free space for a year.