SkyDrive adoption flounders as Windows Live Mesh cut-off looms

News Caroline Donnelly Feb 8, 2013

Software giant's switch-off reminder sheds light on Windows Live Mesh to SkyDrive migration progress

Microsoft has revealed that just 40 per cent of Windows Live Mesh users have moved over to its online SkyDrive storage service, despite the switch-off date being less than a week away. 

The software giant announced in December 2012 that Windows Live Mesh was to be superseded by a desktop-based version of SkyDrive, and the service retired on 13 February 2013.

The product was introduced in 2010 as part of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite and allowed files to be synchronised across Windows and Mac operating systems and the web via SkyDrive.

Mesh users were also able to use the service to access other desktops remotely, as well as synchronise settings for Microsoft Office, for example.

Earlier this week, Microsoft emailed Windows Live Mesh users to remind them of the approaching switch-off date, and the services they are set to lose thereafter.

“After this date, some Mesh functions, such as remote desktop and peer-to-peer sync, will no longer be available and any data on the Mesh cloud, called Mesh synced storage or SkyDrive synced storage, will be removed,” the missive warned.

“The folders you synced with Mesh will stop syncing, and you will not be able to connect to your PCs remotely using Mesh,” it added.

The message also encourages people to give SkyDrive a whirl, but revealed that less than half of Windows Live Mesh users have made the switch already.

“Currently, 40 per cent of Mesh customers are actively using SkyDrive and based on the positive response and our increasing focus on improving personal cloud storage, it makes sense to merge SkyDrive and Mesh into a single product for anytime and anywhere access to files,” it states.

Andrew Buss, service director at IT market watcher Freeform Dynamics, said Microsoft hasn’t given users much time to swap to SkyDrive, which may explain the 40 per cent adoption figure.

Especially as SkyDrive lacks some of the features and functionality that Windows Live Mesh users have come to expect.

“The timescale has been relatively short...which is a bit quick for many users or companies that have started to use the service for backup or collaboration, and need to now figure out a new way to do things,” Buss told Cloud Pro.

“Microsoft seem to be shooting themselves in the foot by shutting down Mesh when their own alternatives are not yet ready to roll.”

Another factor that may be putting users off is the fact SkyDrive doesn’t support as wide a range of operating systems as Windows Live Mesh does, added Buss.

“SkyDrive is only supported on more modern platforms, from Vista onwards on Windows. But it has also dropped support for Mac OS 10.6, meaning that Lion and Snow Lion are the only Mac operating systems that are supported, which leaves a large number of Apple users unable to adopt SkyDrive,” he said.

“It is the same for old Windows XP machines...and this makes it really hard to migrate to SkyDrive, as it shuts devices out and is not inclusive.”

Cloud Pro contacted Microsoft for comment about how the SkyDrive migration was going, but had not received a response at the time of writing.