RapidShare tries a fresh start with a revamped UI and new pricing

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Swiss cloud storage provider RapidShare really would like you to give it another try: RapidShare launched a revamped website and new pricing options Tuesday, positioning itself more closely as a competitor to Dropbox and other cloud storage vendors.

Can a European cloud upstart compete with established US vendors? That’s a question we are also tackling at our Structure:Europe conference this week in London.

RapidShare’s new site offers consumers 10GB of storage for free, but limits daily data transfer to 100MB. Up to 300 GB of storage are 10€ (about $13) per month, with traffic limited to 10 GB per day. 700 GB of storage and 40 GB of daily traffic cost 20€ per month. The company offers desktop integration for Windows, OS X and Linux, but is discontinuing support for its previously-used download manager.

RapidShare was at one point the internet’s most popular one-click hoster, used by millions to store and share files. But the company tried to curb the sharing of unlicensed files after it got repeatedly sued by rights holders.

For a while, RapidShare tried to appease the entertainment industry, offering to convert file sharers into paying customers through the launch of an entertainment store. But those plans fell through, and the shutdown of its competitor Megaupload eventually forced RapidShare to enact strict traffic limits, which effectively drove anyone interested in sharing popular files to other sites.

A press release announcing the new offering Tuesday quoted RapidShare’s new CEO Kurt Sidler, who joined the company earlier this year, with the words:

“RapidShare has been in this business for many years and has gained significant expertise. This provides us with plenty of scope for future innovations.”

One has to wonder whether RapidShare will manage to succeed with its latest attempt to reinvent itself. The company was forced to lay off the majority of its staff earlier this year after similar efforts to emphasize personal file hosting and backup solutions failed to win back customers.

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