Microsoft pitches SkyDrive over iCloud to Mac Office users

Calls Apples service "not enough" for file sharing, collaboration

Microsoft is pitching its SkyDrive online storage service to Office for Mac users, calling Apple's iCloud offering "not enough" for collaboration, file sharing and anywhere-access to documents.

Microsoft released an OS X SkyDrive client preview two weeks ago, adding Macs to the list of devices -- Windows, particularly the upcoming Windows 8, iOS and Windows Phone -- with native support for the Dropbox-like service.

On Monday, the Redmond, Washington, developer stumped for SkyDrive on its Office for Mac website.

"With the SkyDrive for Mac OS X Lion preview, SkyDrive for Windows, and the release of SkyDrive for iPad, you can save and store your important documents or other files in the SkyDrive folder in Finder and access them from anywhere," the Office for Mac team wrote on its blog.

Office is easily Microsoft's biggest success on the Mac -- users with good memories may recall when Microsoft maintained a Mac version of Internet Explorer -- and the company is clearly leveraging that to tout SkyDrive.

Elsewhere, Microsoft argued that its service is better than Apple's iCloud -- the title of another Monday blog was "iCloud not enough? Try SkyDrive" -- and dinged the rival for not being able to store and access all types of files, and for limited collaboration.

iCloud is limited compared to SkyDrive or Dropbox, the more popular service that Microsoft's mimics. Although iCloud stores some OS X file types, notably those created with Apple's Office competitor iWork, it doesn't allow for drag-and-drop or integrate with the Finder, the Mac's file manager.

Office for Mac users, can't, for example. save documents to iCloud or open them from there.

Apple does let developers tie iCloud to their apps, but It's unlikely Microsoft will make that move, not only because it has its own service but because Apple demands any app that integrates with iCloud be sold on the Mac App Store, where the Cupertino, Calif. company gets a 30% cut of all revenue.

Also on Monday, Microsoft published instructions for transferring files stored on iDisk, the online storage service Apple will retire at the end of June -- to SkyDrive.

SkyDrive for Mac can be downloaded from Microsoft's website. Microsoft says it requires OS X 10.7, or Lion, but the client also works on the not-done-yet OS 10.8, aka Mountain Lion.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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