Today Microsoft updated its SkyDrive application for iOS to include automatic camera backup. Users of SkyDrive can now opt to have every photo that they shoot on their iPhone saved and stored in Microsoft's cloud.
SkyDrive provides a decent, if still inscrutably numbered 7 gigabytes of free storage – why not 8 or 8.1 remains outside of my comprehension – which you could quickly fill with photos. Still, Microsoft has integrated SkyDrive deeply across its products, meaning that if you exist at all in the world of Windows (Xbox One, Windows 8.1 and so forth), having your iOS photos quickly stored has real use: They are now accessible across your entire line of screens.
I met with Microsoft to discuss the updated iOS application, and was told that the company doesn't want to discriminate on what you have in your pocket, provided that you are a SkyDrive user. In short, there is a large overlap between Windows users and iPhone users, and as such Microsoft wants to ensure that its cross-platform products are as strong as possible.
SkyDrive faces competition from a host of companies, including Google, Box, Dropbox, and others. There is a race afoot at the moment to store the world's files in the cloud. Previously, in the age of local storage, who sold the operating system sold the file storages system – your PC was your own little private, on-prem cloud, if you will. Now with files migrating to huge pools of linked, public storage, the person who holds the files has the best chance to enable their editing and management.
Those are high-margin activities. Just ask Office. Continuing that theme, and I forget if this is new, but you can now create and edit plain text files inside of SkyDrive.com. Hint hint, Box.
Also out in the update is better OneNote integration, and improved Office file editing capabilities.
The marginal cost of cloud storage is falling to near zero at the moment. Microsoft's own Outlook.com offers essentially unlimited storage, and Yahoo's Flickr will land you with a full terabyte to store your photos. SkyDrive will need to catch up, especially given how deeply it is integrated into Windows 8.1.