Office 2013 and SkyDrive: Cloud Document Storage for All?
Microsoft Office 2013 leans heavily on Skydrive, an online document sharing and file sharing service. The upshot: Business users and consumers can save their Office 2013 documents in Microsoft’s cloud for easy retrieval and sharing. For VARs, that means it’s time to help customers solidify their document storage, eDiscovery and corporate compliance strategies.
In some ways, SkyDrive competes with Box, DropBox, Google Drive and other cloud-based storage and file sharing services. But Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has a deeper strategy for SkyDrive. When the company announced Office 2013 a few days ago, Microsoft said: “Office saves documents to SkyDrive by default, so your content is always available across your tablet, PC and phone. Your documents are also available offline and sync when you reconnect.”
Read between the lines and Microsoft has positioned Skydrive as the default cloud storage system for Windows 8 PCs and tablets, and Windows Phone 8. The big questions:
- Will Office 2013 have native apps for Apple Mac, iPad, iPhone and Google Android devices? So far Microsoft has only said that Office will go cross platform via a web browser. But The VAR Guy is still betting, long-term, that Office 2013 apps will ultimately run natively on third-party devices.
- Could Microsoft use Office 2013 and SkyDrive as a way to lure iPad, iPhone and Android users over to Windows 8 devices? After all, jumping from one device to another is a lot easier if all of your really important data is already stored in the cloud, rather than natively on the device.
- What percentage of customers “want” to store their Office 2013 documents up in the cloud? (Of course, customers can always store documents locally instead.)
Either way, the Office 2013-SkyDrive integration opens a door for channel partners to discuss a range of issues with customers:
- eDiscovery and corporate compliance.
- Data leakage prevention.
- File retention and confidentiality policies.
- Overall corporate document management.
Microsoft Office 2013 pricing and availability details are expected in the fall of 2012.