Microsoft has announced the name change of its cloud service from SkyDrive to OneDrive. Ryan Gavin, General Manager of Consumer Apps & Services, made the announcement recently on the new OneDrive Blog.
“Why OneDrive? We know that increasingly you will have many devices in your life, but you really want only one place for your most important stuff. One place for all of your photos and videos. One place for all of your documents. One place that is seamlessly connected across all the devices you use. You want OneDrive for everything in your life.”
Everybody knows though why it’s OneDrive. The company was forced to alter the name of its cloud storage service after a trademark case with UK television broadcaster BSkyB. Up until a few years ago, BSkyB was in the cloud storage business themselves, and they sued Microsoft over the SkyDrive name (in particular, the “sky” part of the name), claiming trademark infringement.
BSkyB won that case and Microsoft decided to rebrand the service, rather than go through lengthy legal appeals. A special arrangement with BSkyB involving Microsoft’s XBox One may have factored into their considerations too. UK owners of XBox One can access Sky’s channels via the game’s console, and there may be further tie-ins planned for the future.
It’s not clear whether there will be any significant service changes coming with the name change. Microsoft also hasn’t announced exactly when the name change will occur.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has run afoul of trademark infringement challenges. Its Windows 8 system was originally called Metro, and had to be rebranded after a dispute by the German company Metro AG. And who knows? Maybe OneDrive will have to be changed again if anyone objects to the use of the word “one.” Gizmodo has made a list of possible companies who may object to Microsoft’s rebranding.
BSkyB has also not been afraid to defend its trademark before in another case. Back in 2012, Livescribe was forced to change the name of their Sky Wifi Smartpen after the broadcasting company complained.
Since OneDrive is not yet available, you can register your interest on the OneDrive webpage, and you will be notified when all systems are go. In the meantime, SkyDrive will continue to work as usual.