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All Is Not Right with Microsoft SkyDrive

Microsoft will be dropping the SkyDrive name following a legal dispute.

Microsoft settled for undisclosed terms with British Sky Broadcasting Group plc after losing a trademark-infringement case concerning the use of the SkyDrive product name. Microsoft will stop using the SkyDrive name after "a reasonable period of time" to establish a new brand name, according to a jointly issued press release. The case applied to Europe and the United Kingdom and stemmed from a complaint heard one year ago in the England and Wales High Court, according to a ZDNet account. The British Sky Broadcasting Group had appended the Sky name to a number of different products, including its Sky Store & Share service.

In June, High Court Judge Mrs. Justice Asplin issued a judgment holding that Microsoft's use of the name SkyDrive infringed Sky's rights in the Sky trademark.

According to the settlement, Microsoft will not pursue its planned appeal of this decision and Sky will allow Microsoft to continue using the SkyDrive name for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand. The agreement also contains financial and other terms, the details of which are confidential.

At about the same time, Microsoft did announce improvements to SkyDrive that are starting to add basic functionality to its storage and collaboration service. The improvements, which are currently available to SkyDrive users, include new device DPI scaling support for viewing photos (which depends on the browser supporting the feature), the ability to run animated GIFs on SkyDrive, new file- and folder-filtering capabilities that enable portions of folders to be shared with others, as well as a new "shared view" feature that lets SkyDrive users see what the've shared and what others have shared with them.

Probably the most important feature for developers and IT pros is the ability to save documents in code format and in plain text (.txt) files. Supported code file formats include CSS, HTML and JavaScript.

It's now possible to use SkyDrive not only to store such code files, but also to collaborate with others on the code snippets. SkyDrive supports code-completion suggestions ("autocomplete") when editing stored or shared code. Code hints are available when hovering over portions of code. The find-and-replace command works for code or text files. When a code file or text file gets shared with others in a collaboration scenario, it's possible to compare the changes that were made and spot any conflicts. Those capabilities were demonstrated by Greg Edmiston of the SkyDrive team in a Microsoft Channel 9 video at bit.ly/1431lbX.

Microsoft's announcement also suggests that the new SkyDrive can be used to store "registry keys and CMD files."

Finally, Microsoft improved SkyDrive to allow recipients of a shared file to edit it without signing in. That collaboration capability now extends beyond just Word files to other program files.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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