Explaining SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro (sorta)

By Kip Kniskern | In Featured, News | Posted July 17, 2012 8 comments

skydrive-logoSince yesterday’s Office 2013 announcement, and the subsequent “discovery” of SkyDrive Pro, we’ve been piecing together bits of information and are coming to an understanding what SkyDrive Pro is and isn’t, and what it’s going to mean for users.

First, let’s clear up some misconceptions we both had and probably passed along as we muddled through:  Although our newfound SharePoint Expert said in a blog post that SkyDrive Pro replaces SharePoint Workspace, this doesn’t appear to be the case, according to information obtained by Mary Jo Foley:

A Microsoft spokesperson said that Microsoft does not consider SkyDrive Pro to be a replacement for SharePoint Workspace. The spokesperson also said users could opt to have two SkyDrives: One for work (SkyDrive Pro) and one personal (SkyDrive).  It’s not clear to me whether the two would simply sync, or if users could opt to merge these into one. Hopefully things will become clearer as testers start weighing in about the Customer Preview of SharePoint 2013 and the new Office 365 bundles.

Another bit of misinformation was cleared up in an MVP discussion list, which we asked and were granted permission to post here, regarding that extra 20gb of storage.  That will belong to SkyDrive, and not SkyDrive Pro:

SkyDrive is available free to individuals and also as part of Office 365 Home Premium (including 20GB of extra storage)

That source then provided a definition of SkyDrive Pro:

SkyDrive Pro is a feature in the next release of SharePoint that allows organizations to provision and manage personal cloud storage for their employees. It will be available as a service with Office 365 Small Business, Office 365 Enterprise and on-premises with the new version of SharePoint.

Note that Office 365 Home Premium, the product that installed the grayed out context menu item in the first place, isn’t listed, nor will it come with SharePoint.  It doesn’t appear to us that Office 365 Home Premium will have anything to do with SkyDrive Pro.  Of course that begs the question of why the menu item, we know.

And then in a blog post on the SharePoint blog, we get a bit more information in this explanation of SkyDrive Pro:

SkyDrive Pro makes it easy it to work with your documents in SharePoint – save, sync, share and collaborate are all drop-dead simple. The name conveys the simplicity and increased consistency with our SkyDrive consumer cloud service while reinforcing the “Pro” features of SharePoint like social networking, collaboration, search, metadata, workflow and compliance. Click “Sync” on a SharePoint library and you will get the documents offline in the Windows Explorer, Office applications and more. SkyDrive Pro is part of both the SharePoint service in Office 365 and server.

So it may be a bit of marketing-speak to call them both SkyDrive, perhaps, as SkyDrive Pro not only offers features unavailable to SkyDrive users, but it actually allows for enterprises to host their own “SkyDrives”, if we’re reading this right.

And of course it doesn’t help that the consumer version of SkyDrive has a paid complement, but paying for an extra 20 or 100 gb of storage doesn’t buy you “SkyDrive Pro”, it just buys you extra storage for SkyDrive.

To be honest, although we’re only slightly less confused than we were this morning, we don’t have a problem with “SkyDrive Pro”.  Of course, we haven’t seen it yet, but we’re hoping that they both have a  similar look and feel, and that both versions will continue to become easier to use, and more useful.   Most consumers won’t even touch SkyDrive Pro, and if they do they’ll have legitimate reasons for keeping their workflow separate from their personal SkyDrives.  Office 365 Home Premium users will get 20 extra gigs of regular old SkyDrive space, and not a separate SkyDrive Pro account, and that’s good to clarify.  And hey, it wouldn’t be Microsoft if it wasn’t confusing, would it?

Posted July 17th, 2012 at 10:48 pm
  • Simon Johnny

    Its nice to see Microsoft are still set on confusing the heck out of people with all their product/brand name changing into something that is so close to the same as everything else no one has a clue what they’re actually using or are able to communicate to others what they need help with.

  • Simon Johnny

    Its nice to see Microsoft are still set on confusing the heck out of people with all their product/brand name changing into something that is so close to the same as everything else no one has a clue what they’re actually using or are able to communicate to others what they need help with.

  • Học Nguyễn

    Thanks :)

  • Học Nguyễn

    Thanks :)

  • davidacoder

    You should read Paul Thurrott’s description of Skydrive Pro, he gets it all correct. Skydrive Pro is entirely based on Sharepoint. It has absolutely nothing to do with Skydrive, completely different technologies with no link between them whatsoever.

    The fact that even a tech site like yours still doesn’t get it on the third day after release just shows how utterly confusing this is and what a debacle this branding is. They should call it Sharepoint Drive and be done with it. Using the same name for two services that have no link whatsoever is just pure madness, IMHO

    • James

      +1
      This in addition to the bitter Office 2013 posts lately, making it only seem like a UI change.  It runs buttery smooth and fast on my machine and I’m noticing tons of improvements.  I’m not sure why LiveSide is being like this lately, they used to post smart articles.

  • davidacoder

    You should read Paul Thurrott’s description of Skydrive Pro, he gets it all correct. Skydrive Pro is entirely based on Sharepoint. It has absolutely nothing to do with Skydrive, completely different technologies with no link between them whatsoever.

    The fact that even a tech site like yours still doesn’t get it on the third day after release just shows how utterly confusing this is and what a debacle this branding is. They should call it Sharepoint Drive and be done with it. Using the same name for two services that have no link whatsoever is just pure madness, IMHO

    • James

      +1
      This in addition to the bitter Office 2013 posts lately, making it only seem like a UI change.  It runs buttery smooth and fast on my machine and I’m noticing tons of improvements.  I’m not sure why LiveSide is being like this lately, they used to post smart articles.