Microsoft Loses Skydrive: The Immortal Saga of Business Mistake
Microsoft needs to lose SkyDrive. No not the service itself, but the name rather. It is because they “did not know” that it is being used by someone else. Not the Tom, Dick or Harry, whom they could easily have silenced but the British broadcasting giant called, Sky. (You must have heard and enjoyed this channel if you lived in the UK). They also offer internet service and used to offer Sky Store & Share, a cloud storage service.
As a penalty, Microsoft must pay an undisclosed amount to Sky as compensation. (Why don’t they disclose the amount, it is fun to read about) Also, they wouldn’t appeal against the verdict. In return, Sky will provide time for Microsoft to gradually do the transition.
Well, the strangest fact is, Microsoft “did not see” its coming. How could they miss this? But then, Microsoft is known for clumsy and hasty nomenclature. Not long ago, they had to drop the name Metro for its latest Windows 8 after Germany based Metro AG (again, no Tom, Dick or Harry but world’s fifth biggest retailer) threatened them with legal action.
This really makes no sense as Microsoft’s major online offers are dependent on SkyDrive. It works as the online storage for Surface Tablets, Office 2013 and Office 365. It also works as the online storage of Xbox, the popular gaming console which the company makes. With Ballmer wishing the company to become a devices and services vendor than what it is today, a software maker, the importance of an online storage couldn’t have been stressed further. The Bing search engine, similarly, provides a search function, Skype allows nice audio/video communication, Outlook providing email management and Xbox online providing online multiplayer gaming. All of these contribute together to move MS to Ballmer’s vision.
The renaming means Microsoft needs to drawback all the marketing efforts they have spent on SkyDrive. It also means they need to launch campaigns to educate customers, who are already comfortable with the SkyDrive name. It also means to revamp the tablet and smartphone apps, to change thousands of lines of codes for changing the products with SkyDrive inbuilt. “This was a colossal waste of money for any marketing they did on SkyDrive,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.
Microsoft could have done much better had they secured the name from Sky as it doesn’t use it directly. That would have costed them a lot less. In fact, it is not too late even now, they can still use the money they would need for a successful transition and pay Sky a portion of it to retain the name, in an out of the court settlement.
But would they go that way? The way Microsoft is tripping and tumbling at every step since Bill became a passive shareholder doesn’t look too promising.