Microsoft(s msft) wants to make it easier for workgroups to collaborate using its SkyDrive cloud-based storage service. Starting now, users with an invite link to a shared document can work on that document without providing a Microsoft account number.
According the SkyDrive blog:
“One piece of feedback we’ve consistently heard, especially from students, is that our current SkyDrive edit links can be frustrating for recipients when they find that they need to sign in or sign up for a Microsoft account just to make a quick edit to the document.”
Microsoft is putting a lot of weight behind Skydrive, integrating it with Windows 8 and Office (and Office 365.) Skydrive competes directly — and ferociously — with Google(s goog) Drive — which also allows its users to edit documents without logging in. Both of these entries also have to face off against Dropbox, the hugely popular consumer-based file storage and share service, as well as Box and dozens of other smaller players.
Group leaders wanting to keep tighter control over who can collaborate can invite people into the document via email and check a “require the user to sign-in” box.
In a market this competitive, lowering barriers to entry is really important. Let’s face it, signing up for yet another online account can be a pain and many folks will just skip it if they can. So, this is a smart move for Microsoft. Oh, Microsoft also said that Skydrive is now home to 1 billion Office documents.