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Microsoft to offer free 8GB of OneDrive storage if you refer friends

Microsoft has rebranded Office Web Apps as Office Online and SkyDrive as OneDrive, with upcoming refer-a-friend free cloud storage bonuses.

Rumors circulated about Microsoft's plan to rebrand Office Web Apps as Office Online, but it's no longer a rumor since Microsoft has a new "Choose your Office" webpage that compares the free Office Online to two paid versions of Office.

The freebie version includes online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, as well as 7GB of free online storage. It's not live yet; when you click to learn more about Office Online, you jump to a page still using the older names of Office Web Apps and SkyDrive.

But Microsoft is also rebranding SkyDrive as OneDrive. According to LiveSide, Microsoft will offer up to 8GB of extra storage to OneDrive users who refer friends to use the cloud storage.

Everyone seems to want more free cloud storage. Are you comfortable with convincing your friends to store more of their lives in a U.S.-based cloud? If so or if no, the two bonus offers for extra storage will reportedly include:

  • A referral bonus, 500MB for referring a friend to join OneDrive, up to a maximum of 10 friend invites. If your friend takes you up on it, then both you and your referred friend will get an extra 500MB of storage, with a maximum referral bonus of 5GB total extra storage.
  • The second bonus will score you an extra 3GB of storage if you choose to use Camera Roll "backup" to your sync photos to OneDrive via Windows Phone, Android or iOS apps.

OneDrive co-owned folders

To further entice users to use OneDrive, Microsoft is purportedly launching a "co-owned folders" feature. SkyDrive has something similar, but "the OneDrive version will sync any shared folders across multiple users as if they're part of an individual's list of personal folders. The co-owner feature also allows any shared owner to add new owners to the folder." LiveSide posted leaked screenshots of the coming co-owned folder options.

Bing Saves beta

What else is Microsoft hoping users will save to their cloud? Neowin was told that some members of the old 'Bing Insiders' group received an email invite to Bing Saves beta. "Basically it's a way for you to click a 'save' button next to each link on a Bing results page or use a bookmarklet to instantly save pages to your Microsoft Account."

Microsoft and Foursquare deal

Wired reported that Microsoft and Foursquare entered a new deal that gives Microsoft deeper access to Fourquare's new tracking system. "Foursquare's cozy new relationship with Microsoft could strain its relationship with users. On the positive side, users may realize that their Foursquare data will meaningfully improve the search results they get from Bing or enhance their use of mobile Windows devices. On the other hand, many people are still wary of companies sharing sensitive personal information (like physical movements) with third parties (like Microsoft)."

Tick tock goes the clock toward the end of Windows XP support

Lastly, when there were only 60 days left until the end of Windows XP support, Microsoft's Windows Experience blog asked tech-savvy folks to help their friends and family get off Windows XP. That post came out about the same time NetMarketShare released desktop OS market shares for January; Windows XP is still on 30.72% of computers. Microsoft asked wise tech folks to direct XP users to "download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant on their current PC to check and see if it can run Windows 8.1."

Since many people still running XP are doing so because that old box won't support a newer OS, Microsoft also suggested for XP users to get a new PC. That's a nice thought for folks who can afford it, but some big organizations simply cannot.

A previous AVAST survey found that over 96% of U.S. schools will likely face a major technology crisis when Windows XP is no longer supported. "The cost of upgrading from Windows XP to a more recent operating system is approximately $200 per computer, and it is not likely to stop there. Many schools are also facing the expense of upgrading their hardware as well, since hardware older than three years is unlikely to be able to support Windows 7 and beyond. The cost to schools in this situation could run into tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Although anyone still on XP should definitely upgrade, after using Windows 8.1 for a couple months now, I still don't recommend it. Windows 7 seemed to be a much better OS. According to Paul Thurrot, someone who has defended Windows 8.1 in the past, the upcoming Windows 8.1 update 1 has him "wondering whether Microsoft has simply fallen into an all-too-familiar trap of trying to please everyone, and creating a product that is ultimately not ideal for anyone."

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