A new report on enthusiast blog LiveSide has raised the intriguing possibility of Microsoft releasing a native Windows Live SkyDrive client not just for the company's own Windows platform, but also for non-Microsoft operating systems. For the uninitiated, Windows Live SkyDrive is essentially a file hosting service that lets users upload and share files on Microsoft’s cloud storage from a Web browser.
Though the original report attributed the tip as coming from a reader, a job posting by the Windows Live DRX Team earlier this month appears to lend credence to the rumors. The Windows Live DRX team is best known for developing Windows Live Mesh, an innovative technology that helps to keep files across multiple computers synchronized in real-time.
Below is an excerpt of the job posting (Note my emphasis in bold):
The Windows Live DRX team produces the SkyDrive client applications that fuel our customers thirst for stable, secure and available online storage. DRX is building experiences to deliver all of your content from the cloud and your devices to any of your devices anywhere anytime. Our team develops clients for Windows, Windows Phone, iPhone, Mac and Android. We are looking for developers that are looking for their next challenge to build the highly distributed platform and multi-platform clients for the SkyDrive suite of products delivered through Windows Live and Windows.
While general reports are that Live Mesh storage works well, one disadvantage is that the service is capped at a rather puny 5GB, and is not really integrated with SkyDrive. On the other end, one weakness of SkyDrive is that despite the generous 25GB of free personal storage space, the usability of SkyDrive has been hampered by its Web-only implementation. Hence combining both offerings into native clients – with the Windows Live DRX team helming the job, not only makes perfect sense, but offers enhanced usability that is sure to drive the masses to Microsoft's cloud storage service.
Finally, as further evidence of Microsoft's strategy of creating native SkyDrive clients, a TechEd attendee has also claimed to have seen a demonstration by Microsoft of an official SkyDrive App – music was apparently played from a folder within the SkyDrive App on a Windows Phone smartphone.
Taken together, it appears entirely plausible that Microsoft plans to unleash a ubiquitous online storage and sync service that can be accessed via native applications from the most popular desktop and smartphone operating systems. If that is true, then the top (non-Windows) platforms of choice today would surely be the iOS, Mac OS X and Android OS.