Thanks in part to a lawsuit by BSkyB that forced a renaming of SkyDrive to OneDrive, Microsoft suddenly finds itself with a coherent set of services, all well named, and just in time for a new year full of new features and new promise. Today, at the SharePoint 2014 conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft unveiled new plans for SharePoint, including the availability of Service Pack 1, but also for the newly renamed OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro). The previous and somewhat unfortunate name didn’t do justice to what OneDrive for Business is becoming: a simple but professional solution for small and medium business users to manage their storage in the cloud, and have it work seamlessly with SharePoint and/or Office, with Office 365, or with the also newly renamed Office Online suite of free online tools.
Starting on April 1, 2014, Microsoft will make “OneDrive for Business with Office Online” available for users as a standalone service, with no need for a SharePoint or an Office 365 subscription. Microsoft is making the standalone version of OneDrive for Business, including 25GB of storage per user, for an introductory price of $2.50 per month per user (a 50% discount, available until September 2014):
The standalone offer gives businesses 25 GB of storage per employee with the option to purchase additional storage, offline sync and access from multiple devices and platforms, and a strong set of enterprise-ready administrative controls. And when you’re ready for more Office 365 services, like business-class email or online meetings, it’s easy to add them.
It has taken Microsoft some time, including a number of false starts on product naming, to get to where it’s at today with Office 365, Office Online, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint, but this new suite of productivity services seems to be really coming into its own. Complete with a robust cross platform play (featuring apps for iOS and Android, as well as Windows Phone), a coherent upgrade path leading from entry level to professional grade services, and the momentum that comes from a maturing set of services, OneDrive for Business looks to be at the center of a new push for Microsoft to take back what it’s always held title to: the leader in office productivity.