Microsoft said to be readying an HTML-friendly Windows Live SkyDrive

Microsoft is said to be working on an overhaul of its Windows Live SkyDrive storage service. There's no official word as to whether it will be ready this year or some time after Windows 8 ships.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is working on a major overhaul of its Windows Live SkyDrive cloud storage service, acording to WinRumors.com.

The new version of SkyDrive will sport a "new interface will include a HTML5 version of its image viewer, alongside a refreshed interface to view documents and files uploaded to the free service," according to WinRumors.

LiveSide.net posted earlier this month about a new SkyDrive interface that will be part of the Windows Live Wave 5 set of services, which Microsoft is building alongside Windows 8. LiveSide also noted on May 25 that the overhauled SkyDrive may support streaming music for Windows Phone Mango customers (though Microsoft has not stated this officially).

When I asked Microsoft about these reports, I was told the company had no comment and wouldn't share any of the details that Microsoft seemingly provided to WinRumors earlier this week about the next SkyDrive release.

"The SkyDrive team does not have anything to disclose at this time," a spokesperson told me. The spokesperson also said the Windows Phone team had nothing more to say about changes coming to SkyDrive.

SkyDrive is key to Microsoft's Office Web Applications future, as well as to the Windows Phone "Mango" update. Microsoft is retooling its Office Hub with Mango -- an update that will be available on new Windows Phones in time for this holiday season. Microsoft plans to synchronize its phone version of more of its Office applications (beyond OneNote) with SkyDrive, which is something that will interest both business and consumer customers.

(A related aside: If you want to read more about the business features coming in Mango, ZDNet UK has an excellent Q&A with Microsoft on this topic.)

SkyDrive allows users to "store, organize, and download your files, photos, and favorites on Windows Live servers, and access them from any computer with an Internet connection," as Microsoft explains on its Web site.

The Windows team at Microsoft is leading the charge toward relying on HTML as a way to insure cross-platform support for Microsoft and third-party applications and services. HTML support in IE 9 and the coming IE 10 is key to Microsoft's Windows 8 strategy, especially for Windows 8 tablets. There's no timeline as to when Microsoft will begin rolling out Windows Live Wave 5, but if history is any indication, it may trail the expected 2012 release of Windows 8 by up to a year.

In other Mango-related news, Microsoft announced on May 25 that the company is going to have a Web version of the Windows Phone Marketplace available when Mango is released.

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