Lots of startups get going by offering free services to win eyeballs and hope that wallets will follow. Small problem: It’s hard to support free forever.
Relentless attempts to access critical corporate or personal data won’t let up. What could change is who companies will rely on as their last line of defense: You and me.
Media center app maker Plex launched a feature Monday that allows users to store their videos in the cloud and then play them back on any device with a Plex app on it, including Android and iOS mobile devices. Cloud Sync, as the feature is called, was first shown off at CES, and is now available to paying PlexPass subscribers. Interestingly, Plex doesn’t offer its own storage locker, but instead hooks into Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and other cloud storage offerings, with the ability to spread your files across all of your lockers. Time to sign up for more free cloud storage accounts?
One of the major aspects of Apple’s announcements yesterday of new iPads and MacBooks was some pure software news: Apple is going to make the three apps in the iWork productivity suite — Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — free to those buying new Apple hardware. Those with existing licenses will be able to upgrade for free, while those in the middle — existing hardware and no existing license — will have to pay the $10 for each app.
This is Apple stepping up its knife fight with Microsoft and Google in the document wars.
Until recently, users had to pay for Apple’s document tools, and for some, the $10 entry fee seemed too much when you could edit a Word doc on Google Docs, or you had an ancient version of Word.
But now all three competitors have rolled out versions of a file sync-and-share capability, and Apple stepped up yesterday with a giant step forward: co-editing.
I can open a document on my Mac with the new version of Pages, make some changes, add a comment, and invite someone else to edit with me:
Here’s the doc with a comment (that turns out to be important).
And here’s how it looks on my iPhone.
Note that the comment is there.
However, when I view it on iCloud, no comment. It’s the same file, but comments aren’t yet supported.
So, Apple only has two social capabilities implemented — sharing and comments — and the comments are not support in iCloud. Ugh. This is particularly bad because Apple made the sensible decision to allow sharing via browser without requiring others to sign up for iCloud or have a version of the app. But in that case, there is no way for users to share comments, unless they embed them as text in the file.
I presume they will quickly remedy this. I also hope they will implement outside-the-file comments, so that users can create document-wide comments without selecting text. These could be shown in the right margin where other panels are now displayed.
A ‘Show Comments Panel’ button could be supplied, for example.
At present, the solution is barely adequate for those using the OS X and iOS apps, but fails in the iCloud case. Still, Apple is showing where they’re headed, and putting pressure on Microsoft on the price side of things. Today, an Office user must buy Office or signup for Office 365 to get access to Word, even if sharing is supported for free in Skydrive.
Also worth noting that the upgrade to Mavericks is free: the first free version of Mac operating system software since 1991’s System 7. That leaves Microsoft as the only company charging for an operating system.
The systems integrator says its one-to-many hub will save app developers who want to tap into several storage clouds a ton of time and money.
In a turnaround bid, doo has stopped trying to promote its own cloud storage in version 2.0, opting instead to just be a unified layer of intelligence over other services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
Business-focused cloud storage player has new package options for casual and business users as it faces off against Dropbox and a raft of other competitors.
Everyone loves Dropbox — which claims more than 100 million users — except for CIOs, CISOs or whoever’s in charge of compliance and security. nCrypted Cloud says it can help Dropbox win them over too.
… and it’s borrowing the concept of a partner program from legacy IT vendors to make it so
Dropbox, the consumer file-store-and-sync champ, hopes to parlay MSPs, IT consultants and other partners to transform users of its free service into paying customers.