Pushing Microsoft Into the Cloud

Right now Microsoft’s Windows Live efforts are the software giant’s answer to web applications and cloud computing. In fact, however, they’re less a cloud strategy than a layer of fog over the multibillion-dollar packaged software franchises that keeps Microsoft going.

But the Redmond-based behemoth isn’t dumb, and as its chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, said in his interview last week with Om, Microsoft is beginning to navigate the cloud. The release of a new version of FolderShare points to that. The Austin-based startup that built the product was acquired by Microsoft two and a half years ago, only to undergo more than four reorganizations within the first 18 months. In fact, the FolderShare product was going to be shelved — that is, until Microsoft realized that web applications were the place to be. So it’s taken until now to launch a new version.

If you read our review, you know my complaint about FolderShare is that it’s not really doing much in the cloud, which makes it difficult to use for online collaboration and backup. However, judging from the design elements and team members working on FolderShare and Microsoft’s online storage product, SkyDrive, I’m betting we’ll soon see another new launch, one that brings the two together. While I still plan on checking out some of the online storage programs mentioned in the comments (isn’t ElephantDrive simply a repackaged Amazon s3?), I’m also eager to see what Microsoft can do.