Microsoft delivers updated SkyDrive app for iOS

Microsoft delivers updated SkyDrive app for iOS

Summary: Microsoft's SkyDrive online file storage service is a core piece of its transition to a "devices and services" company, Today's update to its iOS app addresses some nagging criticisms. Will it set the stage for the long-awaited Office for iOS?

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TOPICS: Cloud, Apple, Microsoft
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Updated April 3 to include statement from Microsoft on in-app purchases.

Microsoft today released version 3.0 of its SkyDrive app for iOS. It’s a significant update to an app that was last refreshed in June 2012, when support for Retina devices was added.

skydrive-v3-ios

The most significant change in this update, announced in a post on the Inside SkyDrive blog, is compatibility with newer iOS devices, specifically the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. A scan of recent reviews for version 2.1 suggests that this was the number-one item on users’ wish lists.

The new version also addresses issues that had caused iOS users to ding the previous version in reviews. One of the biggest is the ability to download full resolution photos to an iOS device. In the previous version, it was possible to upload full resolution photos, but downloads were automatically resized to a lower resolution. With the new app, you can control the size of uploads and downloads. In addition, the sync process now reportedly includes full metadata for photo files.

Version 3.0 also reportedly improves the process of opening and uploading SkyDrive files using other iOS apps.

And, of course, there are the usual “bug fixes and performance improvements.”

Notably absent are any links, direct or indirect, to Microsoft's paid upgrade options for SkyDrive. That's in keeping with Apple's guidelines for the App Store, which require that it get a 30 percent cut of any revenues for purchases made within the app. That's the same approach that other "freemium" apps, such as Dropbox, Amazon's Kindle, and Spotify, use to avoid running afoul of App Store rules.

Some reports in recent months suggested that Apple had refused to approve the updated app over the issue of in-app payments. In a statement today, a Microsoft spokesperson didn't directly confirm those reports, but did note that this app isn't like its others: "We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers. The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app."

For Microsoft, SkyDrive is a strategic service, a core part of the company’s transformation into a “devices and services” company. With its 7 GB of free online storage, SkyDrive is tightly integrated into Windows 8 and Office 2013. It’s a crowded field, with Dropbox and Google Drive as key competitors who are well represented on iOS.

But this release is really just a tease for the iOS app everyone is expecting from Microsoft. The company won't discuss its plans to release a version of Office for iPhone and iPad, but rumors continue to swirl. Having a robust SkyDrive app that works with all iOS devices is a prerequisite for a subscription-based Office app for iOS.

Topics: Cloud, Apple, Microsoft

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6 comments
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  • I thought Apple/MS were still fuding over the 30% cut from the app store

    Wasn't Apple refusing to allow MS to update skydrive just recently?
    Emacho
    • In-app only?

      I think it's only an issue if the upgrade is purchasable within the app itself(?)
      MichelR666
  • rapprochement?

    the holdup on this SkyDrive iOS update was rumoured to be Apple's demand for the 30% of subscriptions if you can get to a subscription page on the website through the app; did Microsoft negotiate that away or build an app where there is no web page that could later have a subscription link added to it? because that's the real question to find out whether this is a step towards iOS Office ;-)
    mary.branscombe
  • Just like competitors, no links in app to subscription options

    The new app follows the same rules as Spotify, Dropbox, and other freemium apps. You have to buy the premium version from a web page, and there are no links, direct or indirect, to those upgrade pages from within the app.

    I've asked MS for comment, will update post when I get it.
    Ed Bott
    • My Take on the whole 30% Tariff Thing

      It's nice for Apple that they can get away with a 30% tax on every App Store sale, but it sucks for us consumers, for example, I just did my taxes using a program that is available on both iOS and Windows machines. The package cost $24.95 from the App Store, and $17.95 downloading it from the website to the Windows laptop. The functionality is the same for both devices.

      My devices are an HTC One X Android phone, iPod (for bathroom news reading, Skype and music), iPad for browsing and book reading, and a Win 8 laptop for music comp. and heavy lifting. I also use a Kindle Touch for outdoor reading. I may shift from the iPad to a Windows Pro type tablet in the future. I miss the Windows robust file system and power programs like the MS Office Suite and serious music comp. products.
      dachba
  • iOS transfering files w/out iTunes or iCloud?

    That's unheard of... Apple should be out raged. Next it'll be MP3s and Movies!

    They're copying Android. Ha!

    It took apple 3 releases to copy/paste, how long until you can use your iPhone as a USB storage device. Android did all of this from the start.
    Maarek