OneDrive Logo

Microsoft nixes SkyDrive, rebrands as OneDrive

Life
Image: Microsoft

27 January 2014

It took Microsoft six months to choose a name for its SkyDrive service after losing a trademark case to broadcaster BSkyB but it’s here and it’s proud: OneDrive.

“Changing the name of a product as loved as SkyDrive wasn’t easy,” Microsoft acknowledged in a post to a new blog. “We believe the new OneDrive name conveys the value we can deliver for you and best represents our vision for the future.”

Microsoft was forced to rebrand the service – as well as its for-business SkyDrive Pro, which took the name OneDrive for Business – after it lost a trademark infringement case last year brought by British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB), the massive television and broadband Internet service provider owned in part by Rupert Murdoch.

In early August, Microsoft and BSkyB announced a settlement that gave the former a “reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand” for SkyDrive. In return, Microsoft pledged to drop its plans to appeal the UK court’s ruling.

Current users of SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro need do nothing as the name change propagates through Microsoft’s properties. “The service will continue to operate as you expect and all of your content will be available on OneDrive and OneDrive for Business respectively as the new name is rolled out across the portfolio,” said Ryan Gavin, general manager of Microsoft’s consumer apps and services group, in the blog.

It wasn’t the first time that Microsoft stumbled with a brand name.

In mid-2012, the Redmond, Washington company dropped the term ‘Metro’ – which it had used to describe the tile-based, touch-first interface in Windows 8 and the apps that ran in the UI – after Metro AG, a German retail conglomerate, threatened the company.

Microsoft has failed to find a catchy replacement for Metro. At one point it cited Modern as the new term, then settled on the forgettable Windows Store to label the apps, all to little avail; most references to the UI and apps continue to use Metro.

As for the success of the ‘trouble-free’ new brand that couldn’t possibly be confused with anyone else’s product, according to a WHOIS search of domain registrations, onedrive.com was originally claimed in 1998. On 23 January 2014, the status of the domain was updated; it now shows as owned by Dynadot, a San Jose, Calif. domain name registrar and website hosting firm.

Gregg Keizer, Computerworld
@gkeizer gkeizer@computerworld.com

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