Microsoft SkyDrive vs. Apple iCloud and the folly of cloud poaching

Microsoft SkyDrive vs. Apple iCloud and the folly of cloud poaching

Summary: The reality is that most of us will use multiple cloud services. Small businesses will too.

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TOPICS: Cloud, Apple, Microsoft
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Microsoft is pitting its SkyDrive cloud storage against Apple's iCloud and makes many valid points. However, cloud services aren't a zero sum game.

The software giant has launched a SkyDrive vs. iCloud comparison and makes a bevy of good points. As far as marketing SkyDrive goes, Microsoft's effort is good for awareness.

But the idea that any one cloud storage service will dominate is pure folly. The reality is that most of us will use multiple cloud services. Small businesses will too. This cloud service multiplication will become more prevalent as uploading content---say an iTunes library---becomes even easier.

My cloud landscape looks like this:

  • Google Drive.
  • Amazon's Cloud Drive.
  • Apple's iCloud.
  • Dropbox.
  • Box.
  • Microsoft's SkyDrive.

Add it up and I see no point in specializing in one. Amazon is used most heavily because I'm in the e-commerce giant's ecosystem more often than not. As an Android user, I'm increasingly using Amazon services over Google's. That said, I also frequent Google services.

And yes there's Apple's iCloud too, which is handy for my family's gadget universe---iPod touch and iPhones.

SkyDrive will also be a core option once I buy a Windows 8 laptop in the second half of the year. SkyDrive is also pitching the ability to work across multiple ecosystems. In the long run, Microsoft may have a winning message.

In the end, my cloud storage universe will likely be the norm. We have bring your own device in the enterprise and your personal life will increasingly be heterogeneous. Your cloud usage will also be diversified.

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Topics: Cloud, Apple, Microsoft

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33 comments
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  • Neither of these products supports encryption

    If you value your privacy, then vote by not choosing products which don't provide the minimum technology standards to protect your privacy.

    Give Wuala your full evaluation.

    h t t p : / / wuala dot com

    Privacy: It's your right. Own it.
    D T S
    DTS - Your Linux Advocate
    • Sales pitch time again?

      Is this the storage option that someone said "it's a nest of bugs, and developers don't care"?
      William Farrel
      • It's about Privacy, not me.

        Wuala is just one example, there are others all which offer full client-side encryption--meaning even the host doesn't know what's in your storage--that's privacy.

        You seem less interested in privacy and more interested in whether I am pitching a sale. Wuala 5G is free as is the case for any other vendor these days.

        When it comes down to it. The Internet is an extension of Humanity and is a living 'organism' that Government and commercial entities wish to exact control of--privacy is your right as provided by U.S. Tort Law.

        Step back and think about it. There is nothing between you and third parties but encryption. That is the sole technology resource anyone has at their disposal.

        Try not to make this a personal issue. It's bigger than the both of us.
        DTS - Your Linux Advocate
      • The internet is an extension of humanity...

        well why we are theorizing, I am a shovel dreaming I'm human
        TGGR
    • Privacy and protection of data are YOUR responsibility.

      Ultimately, if you value any data that is exposed to the 'net, you need to internally encrypt it BEFORE you send it up on the 'net (including your local network that may have internet connectivity).

      There are some very good free encryption tools out there. www.truecrypt.org is one of those that I'd say more people need to use to become personally responsible for their own privacy and safety from data thieves.

      Additionally, having your data stored 'long term' up on the 'net without some sort of local storage which you control means potential loss of that data.

      There's not any single safe service out there.
      MasterE1
      • Cloud Storage with full client-side RSA 2048-bit encryption is safe

        Vendors such as Wuala (there are several) offer full client side encryption which encrypts automatically before putting them in storage. And you see the 'meta data' on your client but every file is RSA 2048-bit encrypted before being stored.

        That should be the default prototypical method for the future.
        The sales pitch for SkyDrive and iCloud do not offer any form of encryption.

        TrueCrypt is a good tool in the hands of someone with a technical level of skill, but not ideal for the 'masses'.

        What I like about Wuala is that it is Java and runs on any platform and is seamless and quite easy to use. That makes it worth advocating.

        I will continue research on other tools which offer encryption.
        DTS - Your Linux Advocate
  • How come you didn't address any portion of the 'poaching' in your article?

    This only appears to be a minor, and incomplete, listing of some of the 'cloud' storage options.

    In any case, I'd not likely use any of these 'cloud' storage for anything more than temporary transfer of a previously encrypted document/file since anything moved through the 'net can be picked off and disseminated and certainly long term history shows that Microsoft/Google are highly likely to 'change' their offerings and then you'll have lost what you left up there.

    Oh, I did find your displayed chart interesting that Apple doesn't support the "Mac"? Do you mean to say they won't allow any "Mac" (including Macbook Pro, etc.) to use iCloud? Wow. This will hurt them for sure.
    MasterE1
    • Could it be not "accessible from" but "can sync with"

      I'm not familiar with iCloud. Could this comparison be referring to the ability to have a local folder synced with the cloud? Is iCloud capable of doing that?
      fer.paredesb
      • iCloud syncs with all OS X computers

        I can take a picture with my iPhone (iPad, iPod touch), and have the photos automatically show up in iPhoto, on a network connected Mac OS X computer. I know this to be true, as I've personally tried it.
        http://www.apple.com/icloud/
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • It is quite limited but really great for pictures

        I can take a picture with my iPhone or iPad and have the photos automatically show up on my other iDevice and my Windows computer.

        But it only works with pictures so it is very limited and quite crippled.
        toddbottom3
      • toddbottom3 a.k.a Trollboy

        Could it be due to you using Windows, which doesn't have the capabilities that iCloud relies on to do more? Oh wait you're a Windows Trollboy, your only point is ro disparage Apple at every turn.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • To Jumpin Jack Flash

        So toddbottom3 has a Windows computer and his opinion was based on his actually experience. What is wrong with that? Since Windows by far is the largest user base should that experience not be shared regarding a cloud service offering? This is a comparison between Skydrive and 3 other services. The author elected to only include iCloud in the title. Sorry but you are the one coming across as a ???trollboy??? as you put it. If his experience was limiting that means it would be limiting for the majority of PC users.
        thekman58
  • More lies from Redmond

    iCloud is accessible from Windows, OS X and even Linux. What Microsoft doesn't list is that at Microsoft the saying is "All of your datas are belonging to us!" :p
    Jumpin Jack Flash
    • mmmm

      Yet MS dont claim ownership or full access to your files, where google and apple do?
      danjames2012
      • Microsoft's EULA

        for skynet drive, states they can, and will share your data. Or as they make the claim their data.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Could you post a link, Jumpin Jack Flash

        showing that? If I remember the blog where Ed cut and pasted the EULA, It said no such thing.

        Are you reduced to lying in lue of facts?
        William Farrel
    • Doesn't allow Windows documents to be sync'd

      does it? Mac allows documents but I don't see that option for PCs. Accessible doesn't equate to full sync'ing.
      whatagenda
      • SkyDrive Sync's

        On a Windows PC or Mac with the Skydrive client installed you get a "Sky Drive" folder. Whatever is in that folder syncs to skydrive and all computers with the client. Update a document in that folder and the delta's update/sync.

        Mobile clients, Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, iTouch.....access the cloud versions via the skydrive apps on them.

        This is basically EXACTLY like drop box...except its free.

        iCloud is lagging now after the MS/Google updates. iCloud has way to many limitations right now. Very limited file type support, no direct app access, no local folder sync, cost....etc.
        JeveSobs
      • In a way, it isn't fair to compare SkyDrive with iCloud

        Apple isn't selling iCloud as being an online hard drive. If what you want is an online hard drive then iCloud is very limited and crippled.

        Apple once again has identified the most common uses of online storage and made those common uses very easy to use. You don't have a lot of flexibility to go outside those common uses though. So if you want a service that does photo syncing, cloud music storage, has a bit of Gmail, and provides an API for 3rd party developers to cloudify their apps, iCloud is great. If you want a service to store files in the cloud, iCloud isn't great.

        Or, as the blog's main point seems to be, get the best of all worlds and just use both. I do. No complaints here.
        toddbottom3
    • Yeah, and Skydrive is accessible from Android

      It's not as good as the MS Windows integration, but it works. I use some third party thing. It's not like it's part of the file system, which would be nicer.

      I've had Skydrive, Amazon and Google's offerings pretty much since the started but I never used them much. If I had to pick one (which I don't) I would pick Skydrive.
      Schoolboy Bob