Microsoft has transformed into the master of putting a good marketing spin on bad news. Due to a recent trademark dispute over its use of the name "SkyDrive" for its cloud storage system, Microsoft was forced to rebrand it to OneDrive. The new system launches today, packed full of incentives for new users.
Although Microsoft obviously didn't want to change the name of its product, it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Now Microsoft gets to pretend that its cloud storage system is not only new and fresh, but also superior in every way to alternative systems like Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive. The name OneDrive implies that you can store all your documents in one place without any hassle. Microsoft wants you to feel like it has reinvented the wheel and made it better. To do that, of course, Microsoft needed to hand out incentives to join OneDrive like free candy on Halloween.
The first 7 GB of storage are free for all new users of OneDrive and MIcrosoft will add up to 5 GB of storage for a successful referral of other new customers to OneDrive. Additionally, if you sign up for the service's camera backup feature, you get 3 more GB for free. Some 100,000 lucky people could also win 100 GB of free storage for a year if they win Microsoft's lotto. Also, those who buy the Microsoft Surface will get 200 GB for free that lasts two years.
Microsoft debuted the OneDrive Android app as well and boasted that the new cloud will be accessible from almost any platform.
"When someone picks up their phone, tablet or any other device, they just want all of their favorite photos and the documents they need at their fingertips - they don't want to have to hunt for them," Chris Jones, corporate vice president, OS Services, Microsoft, said in a statement. "That's the lens we are taking with OneDrive. We're building it right into all of the latest Microsoft devices and services - from Xbox to Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 to Office - but we're also making sure it's available on the Web and across all other platforms including iOS and Android, so your photos, videos and files are all available anytime you need them."
Microsoft's trump card, though, is its brand name and solid reputation. Microsoft says that if you go with OneDrive you'll never have to worry about security because Microsoft is a tried and true company that you can trust with your data. According to a Harris survey commissioned by Microsoft, people are still a bit leery of cloud storage and tend to trust big brand names with which they are familiar. The survey noted that customers are "wary of lesser-known cloud storage offerings" because they worry about the privacy and security of their files.
Microsoft is banking on the idea that its storied reputation as one of the first tech companies will help give OneDrive more authority among potential customers. How that will help them in the fight against Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud is anyone's guess.