Cloud wars: Microsoft SkyDrive now native on Apple's iPad and iPhone

Add another Microsoft app/service to the 'ported to iPad/iPhone' list. Today it's SkyDrive, Microsoft's consumer cloud service.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on

Microsoft is on a roll with iOS-based iPad and iPhone implementations of its applications.

Yesterday, it was OneNote and a "real soon now" commitment on its Lync unified-communications client for the iPad. Microsoft also announced this week that its Kinectimals game is now available for the iPad and iPhone.

On December 13, Microsoft made yet another Apple-focused announcement: An iOS version of SkyDrive for the iPad and iPhone. (Note: The iPad is supported, but this isn't an iPad-optimized version of SkyDrive. I've asked if there's one of those coming.)

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft already offers a SkyDrive software/service implementation for Windows, as part of its Windows Live Essentials bundle. Today's iOS SkyDrive offering will allow iPad and iPhone users to upload photos, files and documents, rename uploaded content and manage folders from their Apple devices.

SkyDrive is a competitor to Apple's iCloud in that it supports storage of photos and docs. (Ironically, iCloud is believed to run, at least in part, on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform. SkyDrive is Microsoft-hosted, but isn't running on Windows Azure.)

Even though SkyDrive is part of Microsoft's Live Essentials bundle, it has been getting regular updates, as of late. (Most of the Live Essentials services seem to be on the same two- to three-year release cycle as Windows itself, for some odd reason.) In November, Microsoft made a number of updates to SkyDrive, adding PDF support and HTML5 upload capabilities to its cloud service. In June, Microsoft gave the SkyDrive site an HTML5 makeover.

My contacts seem somewhat divided as to the wisdom of Microsoft's decision to deliver many of its key software and services for non-Windows platforms -- and especially for Apple's platforms. Microsoft is a software vendor, and has shown increasing interest in porting its wares to many of the leading platforms as a way to make money and appease customers who aren't Microsoft-only shops/households. Some maintain that Microsoft should keep its crown jewels as Windows/Windows Phone-only products to keep users from having yet another reason to defect.

I am in the former camp. I believe the days of killer apps running on a single platform are over, though the Windows team seems intent on trying to revise this business model with Windows 8. What's your two cents?

Update: According to a December 13 post on the "Inside Windows Live" blog, Microsoft also is rolling out a dedicated SkyDrive for Windows Phone app today, as well -- which is meant to complement the SkyDrive integration built into Windows Phone already.

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