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Microsoft to Offer Free Online Storage 290

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-first-500-megs-are-free dept.
athloi writes "Microsoft Corp. is giving computer users up to 500 megabytes of online storage for their documents, music, photos and video. They're offering it to a select 5,000 test users for now, but will make it widely available later this summer. This move is the latest in a series by the previous large corporation we all loved to hate to compete with the newest large corporation we might hate and fear, Google."
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Microsoft to Offer Free Online Storage

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  • by A Nun Must Cow Herd (963630) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:19PM (#19669703)
    ... too late, and too Microsoft.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Exactly. Gmail offers a gig, and plenty of third party applications store documents there. 500 megabytes explains why Bill Gates is a billionaire- as if anybody needed to be hit over the head with the fact he's a cheap penny pincher.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I imagine this is less of a GMail-killer, and more of a .Mac-killer. Some have speculated that the iPhone will have .Mac integration before long. Would be nice to have their Zune automatically sync with this service over wifi before they get there, no?
        • Zune doesn't need to. But it sure would be nice if Windows Mobile did (Get your direct competitor products right).
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DECS (891519)
          The iPhone already has .Mac integration, because iTunes already syncs it with Safari's bookmarks, email/contacts/calendars, and email settings. ITunes in turn, syncs with .Mac. Users don't have to do anything, and they don't even need to pay for .Mac unless they have various systems they all want to sync together.

          Also, bookmarks, contacts, and email can be accessed from .Mac via the web, which the iPhone can do too. I suppose there would be further ways to integrate or expand .Mac, but it works as is alread
      • where's the Gdrive?
      • by Thwomp (773873) * on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:54PM (#19670041) Journal
        //TODO: Insert obligatory '500MB should be enough for anyone' comment here.
        • by nschubach (922175)
          /*TODO:
          * 1. write 500MB of gibberish (and hard to compress) files
          * 2. upload to use the space given to me
          * 3. PROFIT!!
          * 4. invite others to do the same
          */
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Cal Paterson (881180) *

        Exactly. Gmail offers a gig, and plenty of third party applications store documents there. 500 megabytes explains why Bill Gates is a billionaire- as if anybody needed to be hit over the head with the fact he's a cheap penny pincher.

        This statement is far to dismissive for a product that isn't even concrete yet. It's just heading into beta, there is little available data, and you have already dismissed it.

        I'm not even someone who is a big Microsoft fan - this is posted from a Debian machine, and I person

        • by bryan1945 (301828)
          "This statement is far to dismissive for a product that isn't even concrete yet. It's just heading into beta, there is little available data, and you have already dismissed it."

          Gee, kinda sounds like the article describing the Safari beta for Windows.
        • He made money by entering a market where the only real costs of manufacture are the initial R&D. As he is able to "value price" a product at ~£200 (windows) that has a per-unit cost of only a few pence (cd, booklet, box), he is a billionaire.

          Those R&D costs are probably astronomical for a product like Windows. And don't forget the cost of support, infrastructure, real estate, localization, marketing, testing, security, etc... It's not like they just do some R&D and then there are zero e
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ozmanjusri (601766)
            Those R&D costs are probably astronomical for a product like Windows.

            Windows makes a profit margin of more than 85 percent. To put this in personal terms, for every dollar you spent licensing the OS last year, Microsoft spent less than 15 cents on all Windows packaging, marketing, support, and, oh yeah, improving the product.

      • Hotmail already offers 2GB. This isn't an e-mail storage service like GMail (though Gmail can and is used for some file storage), this is a separate endeavor meant entirely for file storage.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Bwana Geek (1033040)
        A gig? Where have you been? My Gmail storage limit is currently 2869 MB, and tomorrow it'll be even higher. That's all beside the point, though. I love Gates-bashing as much as the next guy, but Microsoft is offering a site designed specifically for web storage. Using Gmail for file storage, last time I checked, was neither supported or even condoned -- hence the reason you need third party apps to do it.

        A much better comparison would be to AOL's online storage service, as mentioned in the article.
    • Re:Too little... (Score:5, Informative)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:41PM (#19669927)
      AOL's XDrive.com has been offering 5 GB for free about 6 months now.
    • by L. VeGas (580015) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:53PM (#19670023) Homepage Journal

      Too little...too late, and too Microsoft.
      No kidding. I've seen MySpace pages bigger than that.
    • by loganrapp (975327) <loganrappNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @09:10PM (#19670687)
      It's a trick. Get an axe.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I still hate Microsoft, and still love Google. You hear that Google? I love you, and this submitter doesn't. When you take over the world, you know who had your back.
  • by Yoooder (1038520) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:21PM (#19669707)
    GMail storage anyone? It lets you use your GMails many GB's of storage as a network drive. 500 fixed MB is pretty paltry in comparison...
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:29PM (#19669779) Homepage Journal
      And will be doing it for real shortly with Gdrive [google.com], which is apparently no longer a rumor.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cperciva (102828)
        [Gdrive] is apparently no longer a rumor.

        I think you mean "Gdrive has been rumoured for the past year to no longer be just a rumour". There's no announcement or even confirmation from Google.
        • There's no announcement or even confirmation from Google.

          Did you check? I tried digging for a bit, and amusingly enough, I got the link for this page from Google:

          This [zdnet.com] blog from a week ago shows that it's possible the project is active and mayhaps even advancing...

    • by Utopia (149375)
      Hotmail also offers mailbox sizes with several GBs.
      The primary problem with mail based storage is that you have to split the files and use http form upload.
      Http form uploads are very unreliable.
      • The primary problem with mail based storage is that you have to split the files and use http form upload. Http form uploads are very unreliable.

        Uh, or you can just use POP/SMTP, as GMail supports that.

    • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:48PM (#19669979)
      Yes, but you can only send emails that are a maximum of 20MB. I'd love to have to split up a bunch of archives in 20MB chunks...

      That aside, the mere fact that nobody can be held liable for the lost of data and that backups are likely not made, I wouldn't feel bery comfortable with the data being there as a means of recovery.
      • That aside, the mere fact that nobody can be held liable for the lost of data and that backups are likely not made

        Ya, but how much do you wanna bet (without even RTF or checked any of MS's pages on this) that the TOS/EULA on this new service from MS includes a clause that they aren't responsible for data-loss, and another clause that no file may be bigger than 30MB.

        The reason I say 30MB is its *just* enough for MS to say "Hey, ours is more than Google!" but yet not by enough to really matter (as in you

    • There's a free service called Openomy [openomy.com] which offers 1GB of free "network drive" space.

      The whole thing seems very dot-com-era-ish to me; I'm not clear on how they're going to make money off of it, and until I understand their business model I'm not going to trust them with anything valuable, but hey -- it would beat emailing myself stuff. Apparently they're going to offer "Premium Memberships" in the future which will offer extra services (this sounds a little like "3. ???", but I'll give them the benefit of
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Gmail is awkward though. Mostly because it's intended for mail, and comes with a 20 MB attachment limit. There are workarounds like GDrive and stuff, but if this service would come with actual merged files without cludges to solve the limitations, I'd much rather use that.
    • And Yahoo!Mail now has unlimited storage, plus links to a blog site (for public storage--complete with photo album option) and what used to be Flicker. Their e-mail folder actually has links for "photos" and "attachments."
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      GMail storage anyone? It lets you use your GMails many GB's of storage as a network drive.

      Not the same thing. You can't share that unless you give everyone your password. If I just want to store stuff for myself, I have DVD sneakernet.

      Yahoo has a "Briefcase" for filesharing, but it's total is just 30 MB. Presumably after MS goes online they'll up that, as they did total mail storage when GMail came. So even though I probably won't use it, I welcome MS's entry.

  • Love for... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ajenteks (943860) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:24PM (#19669719)

    They're offering it to a select 5,000 test users for now
    ... each and every one of the Zune adopters?
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:24PM (#19669723)
    Would that all my "stolen" music and "pirated" movies would fit in 500MB.

    Frankly, MS, that's smaller than my current USB drive, and that drive isn't actually very large by today's standards. And it has faster access, too.

    It's easier, when I want to store something, to GMail it to myself. They have over 5X this amount of storage -- and aren't Microsoft!

  • by blhack (921171)
    Evil microsoft aside, this is actually pretty cool. I know that i keep quite a few little apps and docs and stuff inside of $home so that i can grab them via scp (pscp on windows). With this service, I won't have to go through the steps of googling PSCP, then downloading it to whoever's C:\WINDOWS\system32\ folder. Most of these files used to reside on a flash drive, but given the ubiquity of high speed internet these days, the necessity of keeping a 2-3mb file on removable media seems to be kindof gone
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      what the hell? how does do anything that isn't out there and million times better do?
    • Set up a WebDAV server with SSL, then you can just mount it as a folder using the 'Web Folders' thing in Explorer, mount it on a *NIX box, or use any of a large number of tools for accessing it.
    • http://folders.live.com/ [live.com] http://tou.live.com/en-us/default.aspx

      Section 8: ...snip...

      However, by posting or otherwise providing your submission, you are granting to the public free permission to:

      * use, copy, distribute, display, publish and modify your submission, each in connection with the service;
      * publish your name in connection with your submission; and
      * grant these permissions to other persons.
    • by John3 (85454)
      I agree with you on this. Been testing Windows Home Server which also offers remote access to files. With the availability of high speed Internet service (I have FIOS at home...blazes) I really don't see why someone (novice or average user) would want to maintain a home server or even a NAS device. Just use Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, whomever for remote file storage. Flickr [flickr.com] already does something similar but just limited to photos. They provide an easy to use upload location, tools to manage the photos,
      • by DECS (891519)
        Privacy, security, speed? Even with a hot downlink, you generally get a slow upload. And many people don't have fast internet, particularly here in the backward US.

        Relying on service providers is great as long as they work flawlessly. Once they go "offline for maintenance" at random times, or lose your data "sorry, we recommend backups," your perspective changes. Google is also infamous for deciding on a whim to cancel user's accounts, which makes depending on them a bit risky. Is Microsoft going to do bett
  • Hate what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:26PM (#19669737)
    This move is the latest in a series by the previous large corporation we all loved to hate to compete with the newest large corporation we might hate and fear, Google.

    Wait what? We hate who... I can guess we all dislike MS, but I dont think fear or hate should be in the same sentence with Google.

    • Re:Hate what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zeebs (577100) <rsdrew@NosPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:42PM (#19669939)
      Google hasn't burned it's social credit with tech types, yet. I'm not claiming they will, and I'd like to think they won't.(Why yes I am interested in buying a bridge why do you ask?) I think the might hate and fear is a little strong but not far off in meaning.
    • by vux984 (928602)
      "hate" - no, not yet. No real reason to hate.

      But

      "fear" - definitely. The bigger they get and the more information they accumulate the easier it will be for them abuse their power.

      The best way to ensure people or corporations or governments don't abuse their power is to refuse to give it to them in the first place. Trusting them because they're the 'good guys' is a very distant second place.

      At this stage google has enough marketshare in search, and enough presence in email, analytics, google payments, social
    • by turing_m (1030530)
      Google logs a little over 50% of all searches in the US. And rising - another 1% in only the last three months.

      For those people who use it, it decides what is newsworthy and what is not, acting as an overriding editor for many people as print declines. But it has more power than the television networks and movie studios used to; it's more like the telescreen in 1984 in that you are being watched at the same time, always.

      It knows what you search. It knows what pages you like. It never forgets. Daniel Brandt
  • by 605dave (722736) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:27PM (#19669759) Homepage
    I wonder if that enough disk space for all my most sensitive documents.

    Because if there is one company I trust not to abuse their power...
    • by Alaren (682568) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @08:35PM (#19670349)

      Yeah, I laughed, it's funny, but seriously: Microsoft has a history of resorting to underhanded tactics in crushing their competitors.

      Not to mention the fact that Microsoft is completely beholden to the big media interests these days. I can see web-Clippy popping up already...

      "It looks like you are uploading an MP3 with no DRM! Would you like to:
      A. Transfer $3000 directly to RIAA's rent-a-lawyer
      B. Purchase a properly encrypted version of this song, and purchase a Zune while you're at it
      C. Send your personal contact information to the FBI?"

  • by popo (107611) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:30PM (#19669805) Homepage
    It should probably be noted that Microsoft also bought FolderShare.com (which is a very sweet little app).

    The free-storage combined with FolderShare's file swapping is starting to paint an interesting picture... IMHO I wouldn't discount this as "trying to be like Gmail"...
    • This isn't nearly like "trying to be like gmail". If it was, it would have significantly more storage space (as was mentioned earlier) and would allow access via standardized hooks. Any bet on the microsoft product implementing a broken virtual filesystem design that only works with Windows Vista?
  • What does it mean (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:31PM (#19669819) Homepage
    When I rather the evil Google corp have (some) of my data than Microsoft have any of my data?
  • GMailFS [wikipedia.org]. Why wait to see how long before microsofts offerings are available.

    Overhead is a bit of a pain but its certainly useable, unless you're wanting to swap to it of course =).

  • Omnidrive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Simon Garlick (104721) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:33PM (#19669845)
    www.omnidrive.com

    Users get 1Gb free, and up to 50Gb is available if you want to pay.

    Disclaimer: not a shill, just a happy beta tester.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      I can't really rely on a service to host a full 1 GB if it's
      1. Still in beta
      2. Of an unknown brand. Yes, it matters. A well known company has much much more PR to lose if they mess up. A startup company has very little.
  • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:37PM (#19669883) Homepage Journal

    The most relevant information to this whole thing (to me) is the EULA MS is foisting on people. Some of their previous EULAs for their online properties have included giving them the right to sell, market and/or redistribute any content you create and upload to those online properties. That, and other privacy issues (using the information to profile you in some manner and then sell ads to you via their LiveSearch stuff for instance - as referenced in a previous post regarding their work on obtaining as much private, identifying data on people as possible) are things I'd like to see clearly addressed and spelled out in their EULA.

    I am also interested in how this all fits in with their current DRM schemes and related practices. Will they DRM any music I upload? Report me to the RIAA? Assume the program archives I upload are pirated and sue me?

    All in all, I see this service as one for only the brain dead - based off MS's previous track record for trustability. (Yeah, it's probably not a real word, get over it).

    • The most relevant information to this whole thing (to me) is the EULA MS is foisting on people.

      Read [live.com] it for yourself.

      That, and other privacy issues ...are things I'd like to see clearly addressed and spelled out in their EULA.

      It doesn't sound that far removed from Google's.

      I am also interested in how this all fits in with their current DRM schemes and related practices. Will they DRM any music I upload?

      Apparently, no. I just uploaded, via XP+FireFox, a DRM free mp3, from an eMusic file I own. Th
  • it's no big deal if you're worried about that. And if you're worried about security.... WTF are you doing on Windows to begin with? ;-)

    I can see the lemmings falling over themselves to jump off this cliff already.

    LoB
    • they don't have access to MY files.

      I never run MS update, live. I use the offline method and my xp box NEVER connects directly to the net.

      (ctupdate is the thing I use. I now swear by it.)

      never let your winblows box 'autoupdate' itself ever again. always update OFFLINE. much more sane, that way. and secure.
  • Of course we all know Microsoft would never, EVER mine your personal data for it's own gain.

    Pass. Mostly because I have no need of it.

    Between my music player, camera SD cards and USB sticks, I'm carrying nearly 18G of storage in my pockets right now.
    • I didn't RTFA or RTFS, but if this is only for Windows users then you've long ago paid for this with your Windows purchase.

      If not locked in to MS, then expect some sort of incentives of the form 500MB for everyone, 2GB for Vista systems. A nice low-cost bait to get people to buy a high price product.

  • > Microsoft Corp. is giving computer users up to 500 megabytes of online storage

    500Mb is not enough. It should be at least enough to store an upload of a Vista DVD. ;)

    > This move is the latest in a series ... of companies doing exactly what someone else has already done. Oooh look! Someone's written a web browser!
    • Exactly. Remember when search engines were the latest thing? Suddenly everyone and their dog wrote one. Or when blogging went mainstream? Suddenly, you had a billion blogging places all over the net.

      It's just the same now. There will be a culling and when the dust settles, 3-4 places will remain, with maybe one or two others that are kept afloat artificially with the financial aid from some large company. This is probably one of the latter group.
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:52PM (#19670019)
    Are viruses included in that 500 meg total? They could really cut into that 500 meg number.
  • Won't take long for the "creative programmer" community to turn Microsoft's new offering into a wonderful, free, shared, non-traceable BIG FILE SERVER for all the warez, pr0n, and MP3's they'd like to keep online.

    Microsoft isn't competing with Google, they're competing with Pirate Bay. Why torrent or FTP when you can just mount a drive?
  • .. I use hotmail. then MS bought them, and converted over to IIS. They promptly lost some of my email. When I contacted them about it, they said, sorry, we cannot recover it. Ever since then I have not trusted MS with my email, so I can't see trusting them with my documents either.

    Also consider that for less than $40 USD, you can get a 4Gig usb drive, why do you really need this online storage?

  • by Statecraftsman (718862) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:58PM (#19670073) Homepage
    I'm perfectly capable of losing my files and documents all by myself. Thanks anyway.
  • by Vexler (127353) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @08:06PM (#19670129) Journal
    ...will be a .PST file.

    First 500 MB are free? That is, until it hits that 2 GB limit. Then everything goes down the toilet.
  • by nurb432 (527695)
    Who would honesty trust their data to some company that you dont even have a valid contract with? ( i dont care if its yahoo, microsoft, or countless others )

    Sure, if you are paying customer to a remote datacenter with TOS, i can see this, but some free service that is subject to terms that change on a dime, security holes all over the place, or it might suddenly dissapear?

    No thanks, ill stick with my ( encrypted ) 2gb usb key, that doesnt even need network access.
  • Microsoft will compete with Google, maybe they will compete in terms of volume, so we will get about 2GB from MS and 2GB from Google as well. If I make up enough dummy accounts I can back my whole home network up over the wire. And distributed too! MS can keep one copy and Google can keep the other. That way if one destroys the other when the war comes, I'll still have a good backup.
  • by CheeseburgerBrown (553703) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @08:25PM (#19670251) Homepage Journal
    This is an obvious honeypot ploy to draw unsuspecting, God-fearing users everywhere to upload their copywrong material and thereby indict themselves for extraordinary rendering by a nefarious acronym.

    Run away! Run away!

  • As I read this article, the very first thing that popped into my head was privacy issues. We've all ready how the NSA, CIA, FBI, etc. accessed AT&T's phone records, etc. I wouldn't put it past them if they are already accessing and data-mining Yahoo! and Google E-mail.

    The service gives users who e-mail documents between home and work computers an alternative way to access their files on the go. Users can keep files private or share them with people they know or with anyone on the Web.

    When I need
  • AOL's XDrive is available now and offers users 5Gb for free. It certainly makes 500Mb look paltry. And of course don't forget, the Microsoft offering will exclude Macintosh users. When they go to Microsoft Live they get told they are not running a supported browser. This just goes to show that Microsoft's real strategy is turf protection of their Operating System monopoly.
  • Someone needs to write an app that would let a user group various free storage locations (google, ms etc) into one mountable drive. Just a thought. If this already exists let me know.
  • 500 megs. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @08:46PM (#19670451)
    Now, call me ungrateful, but 500 megs? Let's see what such a service could be good for.

    1. Offsite backup.
    2. Making your data "mobile", by making it available wherever you are.
    3. Transfering your data to another machine (local or remote).
    4. Distributing data

    Should anyone have other ideas, please share them.

    Well, for 1, I'd choose pretty much anything BUT Microsoft. They aren't really the company that comes to my mind when it comes to data security.

    For 2, there are USB sticks. Now, you may argue that they cost money while this service is free, but c'mon, 500 megs? I just gave away a 1GB USB stick 'cause it was too small for my needs, and sticks in the 500m region don't cost a fortune.

    For transfer, locally I'd suggest USB as well and for remote, connect the machines directly.

    And for distribution, especially of ... erh ... content whose copyright I cannot claim legally, I'd again choose anything BUT Microsoft.
  • What the heck good is 500M of free storage when it still takes way too long to upload 500M of data? I seem to get around 70k/s upload speed on my Cox cablemodem (business cablemodem, I think I have 512k/s upstream) and it takes two hours to upload 500M. The average user will take even longer.

    I currently use Amazon S3 for storage (mostly backups) and I have 100G of stuff on there for my 4 monthly full backups. It takes me 4 full days to upload a full backup. So I spend nearly a quarter of the month constantl
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by adpowers (153922)
      Amen. I'm experimenting with S3 for backup (offsite backup, in additional to my optical media backups), but the upload time is killer. What scripts/program are you using for backup? I'm currently using JungleDisk because it looked like the best of OS X.
  • by macemoneta (154740) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @09:00PM (#19670601) Homepage
    AOL gives everyone that signs up for an IM account 100MB of web space, but the interesting thing is it's ssh accessible. That means that you can mount it with sshfs or sftp, making it a handy place to keep (encrypted) data that you access from multiple machines. For example,

    sshfs userid@members.aol.com: /some/directory

    The above (after responding to the password prompt) makes the 100MB available in your local "/some/directory/". The data is also web accessible at:

    http://members.aol.com/userid/ [aol.com]

    I find the space, even though small, very handy for storing small amounts of useful information. Using encfs on the sshfs mounted space allows remote access to things like server status/logs in a secure fashion, even when the machine is not directly SSH accessible.
  • I'm confused at the summary. I just signed in at that site with my live ID to check it out and I could access it, upload and download. Unless I just happen to be one of the select 5000, and nobody told me.

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