That evening I was at dinner with Satya Nadella, the head of Microsoft’s server and tools business. “You should have just used our online service through Skydrive,” he said, referring to Microsoft’s online storage service.
I pointed out that this was not intuitively clear from the Windows 8 look: Instead of saying “write” or “store,” the icon says “Skydrive.” Instead of offering activities, Microsoft is assuming that buyers are up on all of its products, and clear on how to begin using them.
Hardy makes a fantastic point. Whenever I set up an iPad or iPhone for a new user, they figure out where email, phone, contacts, calendars and so forth are, but the web? That one confuses most people, because “Safari” isn’t something they are used to calling the Internet.
I very much like the idea of giving users a better understanding of what things do by using verbs instead of brand names — I think it is a natural extension of this post-pc hoopla people are caught up in.
One last thing to note: I setup a Skydrive account a couple of months ago and while I barely use it, I have to say it is a really solid service. I personally wish more iOS developers integrated it into apps so that Dropbox wasn’t the defacto method of getting at synchronized files.
I’m not saying Skydrive is or isn’t better than Dropbox, I haven’t used it long enough to say, but in my testing Skydrive has been surprisingly very good.