SkyDrive “Pro” sighting raises questions

By Kip Kniskern | Posted July 17, 2012 22 comments

Microsoft unveiled “Office 2013″ yesterday, and while much of it is just a newer, cleaner look and feel for what we’ve become accustomed to in Office 2010, there are a few surprises.  One of those is getting a bit of attention, the discovery of a right click “SkyDrive Pro” item that is showing up in Windows Explorer:

skydrive pro

The option is currently grayed out, and that’s causing a ripple over on Twitter about just exactly what it is.  First, remember that the version of Office offered first and probably most commonly downloaded is not just Office but “Office 365 Home Premium”.   Just as a refresher, the Office 365 Home Premium Preview website describes the services available with the product:

  • A personalized Office experience on up to 5 PCs or tablets.
  • Powerful new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access.
  • Streaming full versions of Office applications with Office on Demand (PC running Windows 7 or 8 and Internet connection required).
  • If you’re also trying Windows 8 Release Preview, be sure to check out the OneNote Preview in the Windows Store. Keep your notes, pictures, voice memos, and web pages in one easy to access place so you have them when you need them.

Coming soon, with the full release of Office 365 Home Premium:

  • Talk to anyone using Skype, including 60 minutes of free international calls every month to landlines in over 40 countries and to cell phones in 7 countries. (Skype account required. Excludes special, premium and non-geographic numbers.)
  • Get an additional 20 GB of SkyDrive online storage for easy access and sharing of your documents.
  • Office for Mac

(emphasis ours)

While a Bing search for more definitive information on SkyDrive Pro from Microsoft came up empty, via Twitter we found a “SharePoint Expert” from France, Benoit Hamet, who explains in a blog post:

With Office 2013, SharePoint Workspace doesn’t exist anymore.

It’s now replaced by SkyDrive Pro.

As part of the new features, SkyDrive is fully integrated to Windows Explorer: when you select a SharePoint library to keep available offline, the content is appearing on Windows Explorer in a Favorite place called SharePoint Libraries.

image

(So, just to be clear: SharePoint Workspace (which used to be Groove), is now SkyDrive Pro, and can be found on your desktop under “SharePoint Libraries”.  Got it?  sheesh)

LiveSide readers may remember back to the days when there was Office Live storage, and Windows Live Mesh storage, and SkyDrive storage, but they couldn’t be used together in any meaningful way, and understand the concern of some on Twitter that having 2 separate SkyDrives (one personal 25 gb (or larger), and another 20gb of “SharePoint WorkSpace v.Next”.  Will we be able to store documents to either our personal SkyDrive, or SkyDrive Pro from Office 2013?  Will we be able to get to either or both, mixing and matching documents, in the cloud from some exotic (we hope) location?  Can we access SkyDrive Pro on Windows 7 / Office 2010 machines?

Dare Obasanjo, who works at Microsoft most recently (we think) on Live Connect APIs, asked on Twitter is the expectation that your workplace documents be in the same place as your personal stuff?, but that question seems a bit silly when we’re talking about “Office 365 HOME Premium”.

We’re sure there are good answers to these and other questions, and we haven’t heard much in the way of details about the SharePoint / Office 365 Home connection.  But since SkyDrive Pro was “discovered” by users, and not talked about in yesterdays event, it’s not surprising that questions have arisen, especially given the dodgy nature of SkyDrive / Office Live compatibility issues in the past.

Posted July 17th, 2012 at 8:32 am
  • http://twitter.com/bart_willeman Bart Willeman

    Liking the fact that Skydrive as a name now starts appearing in the business community as well. Makes sense, as different software / services start to come together with Office 2013

    • jkth

      If indeed they ARE coming together. if they are two different things then giving them such similar names is confusing.

  • http://twitter.com/bart_willeman Bart Willeman

    Liking the fact that Skydrive as a name now starts appearing in the business community as well. Makes sense, as different software / services start to come together with Office 2013

    • jkth

      Yeah, hopefully things are consolidating under one brand. I share Kip’s concerns though – he’s absolutely right when he alludes that having a Office 365 Home Premium SkyDrive alongside your existing SkyDrive is….well…wrong.

  • jkth

    Good job highlighting this Kip. I figured when you went quiet on Twitter you were beavering away writing this blog post. Hoping we’ll hear something soon.
    @jamiet:twitter

  • http://www.andrewtechhelp.com/ Andrew Tech Help

    Paul Thurrott mentions this in one of his many Office 2013 articles. http://www.winsupersite.com/article/office-2013-beta2/office-365-public-preview-office-365-home-businesses-143706

    He says: “Oddly, however, Microsoft has rebranded SharePoint as SkyDrive Pro in some Office 365 versions. But it includes all the expected SharePoint functionality.”

  • jkth

    Good job highlighting this Kip. I figured when you went quiet on Twitter you were beavering away writing this blog post. Hoping we hear something soon.
    @jamiet:twitter 

  • http://www.andrewtechhelp.com/ Andrew Tech Help

    Paul Thurrott mentions this in one of his many Office 2013 articles. http://www.winsupersite.com/article/office-2013-beta2/office-365-public-preview-office-365-home-businesses-143706

    He says: “Oddly, however, Microsoft has rebranded SharePoint as SkyDrive Pro in some Office 365 versions. But it includes all the expected SharePoint functionality.”

  • cmwind

    yeah… the office division appears to be more disconnected than any other division from Microsoft’s 2012/2013 consumer focused product line… which makes sense… but is also a little frustrating… Office 365 Home (don’t really know why the premium is there?) should feed directly into your personal SkyDrive account… Office 365 Pro should feed into either your SkyDrive Pro or your personal SkyDrive account

    but not having used any of this yet… all the details on how this works are a little unclear in my mind… of course all I want is Word MX, Excel MX, and PowerPoint MX apps that function like the OneNote MX app now in the Win8 Store (would pay for those)

  • cmwind

    yeah… the office division appears to be more disconnected than any other division from Microsoft’s 2012/2013 consumer focused product line… which makes sense… but is also a little frustrating… Office 365 Home (don’t really know why the premium is there?) should feed directly into your personal SkyDrive account… Office 365 Pro should feed into either your SkyDrive Pro or your personal SkyDrive account

    but not having used any of this yet… all the details on how this works are a little unclear in my mind… of course all I want is Word MX, Excel MX, and PowerPoint MX apps that function like the OneNote MX app now in the Win8 Store (would pay for those)

  • cmwind

    Speaking of brand alignment… I think the future? meshing of Skype into Office 365 Home is also a little odd… I mean if you look at the SkyDrive trend then perhaps Lync will become SkypePro in the near future?!?

    In other Skype hopes… old Skype accounts should be able to be migrated to users current Microsoft Accounts, Xbox’s proprietary (dated) messaging service needs to die as does Windows Live Messenger and both just be replaced by Skype IM, Skype also would act as the video call/call brand for Windows Phone, Windows, and Xbox

  • cmwind

    Speaking of brand alignment… I think the future? meshing of Skype into Office 365 Home is also a little odd… I mean if you look at the SkyDrive trend then perhaps Lync will become SkypePro in the near future?!?

    In other Skype hopes… old Skype accounts should be able to be migrated to users current Microsoft Accounts, Xbox’s proprietary (dated) messaging service needs to die as does Windows Live Messenger and both just be replaced by Skype IM, Skype also would act as the video call/call brand for Windows Phone, Windows, and Xbox

  • davidacoder

    This branding is absurd. “Skydrive” and “Skydrive Pro” are entirely different products, with no apparent linking whatsoever. So why give them the same name??

    Here are some things I would expect to work, if there are two editions of Skydrive, a normal and a pro: 1) easy upgrade from normal to pro, 2) ability to access any skydrive storage from the win8 skydrive client, 3) ability to sync folders from any skydrive storage from the desktop client, 4) one url to go to (skydrive.com), 5) stuff that is shared with me from either skydrive or skydrive pro should show up in the same place.

    None of that is true. Instead we have one name for two entirely separate products, at least three different client apps (win8 metro, skydrive client, skydrive pro client).

    I really, really wonder who is in charge of branding. We already had this complete mess with Mesh, Foldershare and Live (and all possible combinations of those three terms). Things looked better, it seemed to be a clean story, one skydrive to rule them all.

    Do they really think this is the way to compete with google drive, dropbox etc?? The only thing this will cause is utter confusion, left and right. The correct move would be to just call the new thing Sharepoint Drive. Done, all clear, and the skydrive brand would be a simple concept, ready to compete with google drive and dropbox. But this “Skydrive Pro” is pure madness, IMHO.

    • jkth

      What he said

    • Mario Albertico

      Right there with you. Just in terms of the logo/icon they’re using for “SkyDrive Pro,” we can see how disconnected this appears to be from the SkyDrive brand that they’re trying to build.

  • davidacoder

    This branding is absurd. “Skydrive” and “Skydrive Pro” are entirely different products, with no apparent linking whatsoever. So why give them the same name??

    Here are some things I would expect to work, if there are two editions of Skydrive, a normal and a pro: 1) easy upgrade from normal to pro, 2) ability to access any skydrive storage from the win8 skydrive client, 3) ability to sync folders from any skydrive storage from the desktop client, 4) one url to go to (skydrive.com), 5) stuff that is shared with me from either skydrive or skydrive pro should show up in the same place.

    None of that is true. Instead we have one name for two entirely separate products, at least three different client apps (win8 metro, skydrive client, skydrive pro client).

    I really, really wonder who is in charge of branding. We already had this complete mess with Mesh, Foldershare and Live (and all possible combinations of those three terms). Things looked better, it seemed to be a clean story, one skydrive to rule them all.

    Do they really think this is the way to compete with google drive, dropbox etc?? The only thing this will cause is utter confusion, left and right. The correct move would be to just call the new thing Sharepoint Drive. Done, all clear, and the skydrive brand would be a simple concept, ready to compete with google drive and dropbox. But this “Skydrive Pro” is pure madness, IMHO.

    • jkth

      What he said

    • Mario Albertico

      Right there with you. Just in terms of the logo/icon they’re using for “SkyDrive Pro,” we can see how disconnected this appears to be from the SkyDrive brand that they’re trying to build.

  • Eschekman

    Skydrive Pro is the new name for Sharepoint (sync).

  • Eschekman

    Skydrive Pro is the new name for Sharepoint (sync).

  • Windows Fan

    following article helps in activating or removing this mysterious context menu option:

    http://www.askvg.com/what-is-skydrive-pro-option-and-how-to-remove-it-from-context-menu-after-installing-microsoft-office-2013/

  • Windows Fan

    following article helps in activating or removing this mysterious context menu option:

    http://www.askvg.com/what-is-skydrive-pro-option-and-how-to-remove-it-from-context-menu-after-installing-microsoft-office-2013/