Microsoft SkyDrive now at 25GB

windowsliveskydrive

It seems like Microsoft is quite serious about making their Live SkyDrive a serious contender in the online storage business. They launched the service about an year back with 500MB of space, hardly enough for … well anything … increasing it to 5GB in February and surprised everyone last week by announcing that SkyDrive will now come with 25GBs of free online space. Wow !

Microsoft’s competitors in the Online storage space are Box.net, Wuala, Xdrive, Mozy (an EMC subsidiary) , Adrive and countless others. Granted that this space is already crowded, Microsoft’s decision might come in as a surprise to some. I, on the other hand, feel that this is just another attempt by Microsoft to establish a presence in the online space. Wonder how long before Google joins the party.

Adrive offers 50GB of free space, and in terms of free space, looks to be the only real competitor in the space. The rest of them all offer anywhere from 1-5GBs free and while that is enough to get a reviewer started with the service, a real long term user would definitely be looking for more than that. I know I do.

I’m sure with this latest update (and Microsoft’s massive Marketing machinery) Skydrive will definitely gain a lot of new users. How long can they maintain the momemtum and all the good press that Live (and Windows 7) has been getting is anyone’s guess.

What happened with Windows Vista

Ofcourse, everyone’s heard about the debacle that Windows Vista has been. Enough has been written about the disaster that Windows Vista has been.

So much so that it has almost become fashionable for bloggers all over the Internet to trash Vista left right and center. And some of these people don’t even use Windows Vista.

I agree Vista hasn’t been the best of software that Microsoft has released. But, I also feel that Vista has received flak for being what it is. An operating system ahead of it’s time.

Now, don’t start flaming me for this statement. Try and understand what I mean when I say, “Ahead of it’s time”. I definitely DO NOT think there is anything ground breaking in Vista, though it has it’s moments. What I mean is that Vista was never designed to work on the hardware that it was run on.

The hardware that was being used by the regular PC user 1-1/2 years back was definitely not powerful enough to run windows Vista and it was quite obvious that people hated the experience. That doesn’t mean that the people should have upgraded. Vista definitely should have been faster.

I use Vista on my relatively powerful recent notebook and I think that it runs quite well. Another thing which Vista impresses me with is the stability. Ofcourse, it doesn’t beat Linux in that department yet, and probably never will, but that’s not what people use Windows for 😉 But, people who are still stuck on to XP, will definitely do themselves a favor by actually trying out a modern operating system.

I think the Vista debacle was just a case of marketing gone wrong. Nothing more, Nothing less. Ever since, Microsoft started working on Vista, they had these big advertisements running in the media proclaiming the *new* features that were going to be in the new operating system. Features like WinFS would have been awesome and would have made all the difference, but Microsoft couldn’t deliver on their promises and the Vista project kept getting late and features such as WinFS were removed from the final product.

Before Vista was released I don’t remember a single article about Vista which didn’t end up mentioning the supposed advances that WinFS would have brought to the table. And when such a loved feature is removed from an already delayed project, it is obvious that the product would receive some bad press.

But Vista didn’t receive just bad press. Vista got a hammering and for (almost) no fault of its own.

Had Microsoft released an increment (with added eye candy) to XP at that time and released Vista now, I have no doubt that people would have been happy with it. Let’s hope Microsoft learn something from this and get on with their act for Windows 7 or whatever they end up calling it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Microsoft Patents Page Up/Page Down functionality.

Microsoft had applied for and has received a patent (U.S. Patent #7,415,666) that essentially patents “Page Up/Page Down” functionality in any application.

This has to be the joke of the week, if not the century ! Microsoft had applied for and has received a patent (U.S. Patent #7,415,666) that essentially patents “Page Up/Page Down” functionality in any application.

I seriously believe the patent system is absolutely screwed up. I think this is another reason why software patents are a bad idea. From the filing:

Method and system for navigating paginated content in page-based increments

A method and system in a document viewer for scrolling a substantially exact increment in a document, such as one page, regardless of whether the zoom is such that some, all or one page is currently being viewed. In one implementation, pressing a Page Down or Page Up keyboard key/button allows a user to begin at any starting vertical location within a page, and navigate to that same location on the next or previous page.

For example, if a user is viewing a page starting in a viewing area from the middle of that page and ending at the bottom, a Page Down command will cause the next page to be shown in the viewing area starting at the middle of the next page and ending at the bottom of the next page. Similar behavior occurs when there is more than one column of pages being displayed in a row.

Gartner says Windows is "Collapsing"

This shouldn’t be news to anyone but when Gartner says in a report that the Windows Ecosystem is collapsing, I’m sure a lot of us would be willing to give them a thought. Granted, companies like Gartner thrive on tall claims to drive up their business but even I wouldn’t agree more with them on this one.

While I certainly do not think that Windows is “collapsing” but a gradual decline in the number of windows users and developers cannot be ignored. From the world’s most used and loved operating system, Windows is now just another statistic on the analysts’ radar. Mac OS X and Linux are formidable forces in the Operating system world and analysts are actually sitting up and taking notice of them.

The Vista debacle should have taught MS a lot of things but I doubt that they’re willing to learn anything from it. Consumers want more out of their computing machines these days and just a couple of fancy graphical effects are not going to sway them. They would rather have a working, stable operating system than change to a newer buggier one which also requires them to upgrade most of their hardware.

Microsoft on its part is signing up deals with open source companies like Novell. It released the SP 3 version of its best seller operating system Windows XP last week and even though XP will still be EOLed in June, MS has been working with some organisations like Asus who want to keep using XP on their low cost/low power computing devices. Gartner says that Windows is bloated, overly complex and full of useless functionality and that users who aren’t forced to upgrade by way of OEM deals, would rather stick to what they have.