Panic Time for Dropbox, Carbonite: Microsoft Expands SkyDrive with Paid Tiers

Microsoft restructures its usage models for SkyDrive, readies options for Windows Phone, iOS devices.

Microsoft is getting serious about its SkyDrive file hosting service, expanding offerings for the desktop as well as bringing it to mobile users of Windows Phone and Apple products.

New users to SkyDrive will be a little unhappy to learn that the free service is now 7GB of storage instead of 25GB. Mike Torres and Omar Shahine, group program managers for SkyDrive, co-wrote a blog post on the Building Windows 8 blog explaining that usage models show 99.94 percent of current customers use less than 7GB.

(So cue the bellyaching from the 0.06 percent down below)

After your free 7GB/25GB, an additional 20GB costs $10 per year while an additional 50GB costs $25 per year and an additional 100GB will run you $50 per year.

As of today (April 23), Microsoft is offering a preview of its SkyDrive for Windows client, a local version of its SkyDrive client. The client is available for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Sorry XP users, but get with the program and lose that relic.

The SkyDrive client will let you access your SkyDrive right from Windows Explorer, add new files by drag and drop and organize your files and folders in SkyDrive, just like any other folder on your PC.

Yes, Carbonite, DropBox, and the rest of you, it's time to panic.

Microsoft has also updated the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone and, perhaps bowing to the inevitable, is offering updated previews of SkyDrive for Mac OS X Lion, the iPhone and iPad as well.

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