In a session at Ignite this week, Microsoft explained how and when it will merge the sync engines for OneDrive and OneDrive for Business and then improve both services going forward. As previously explained, these changes will come after Windows 10 is completed mid-year, and some new features will likely not be implemented until 2016.
But don’t take that as bad news: Microsoft plans many, many improvements to both OneDrive and OneDrive for Business in the months ahead. And while our emotions may still be a bit raw from last year’s decision to eliminate the Windows 8.1 sync client for OneDrive, I think most people will be happy with the end result, even given its protracted implementation.
You can watch the Ignite session, A File’s Future with OneDrive for Business, on Channel 9 if you wish. But here’s an overview of the schedule Microsoft’s Reuben Krippner revealed.
Sometimes a picture really is worth 1000 words. Here’s the relevant slide.
This quarter (i.e. by the end of June), Microsoft says it will create a new mobile PDF experience on Android and iOS, implement Send a Link in Outlook for Android and iOS, add Save to OneDrive for Business from OWA (Outlook Web Access, the web-based email client for Office 365 commercial versions) and provide automatic expiration of anonymous files shares in ODB.
In Q3 2015—July through September 2015—Microsoft will deliver a preview version of its next-generation sync client for Windows and Mac, which will be common to OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, and, yes, be based on the sync engine in consumer OneDrive. It will also deliver a unified web user experience between the two services, update the Android and iOS apps to support read-only viewing of all files, implement improved sharing controls, and provide company-wide shareable links in ODB.
In Q4 2015—October through December 2015—Microsoft will ship the next-generation sync client on both Windows and Mac. It will also ship a Windows 10 universal app for OneDrive, which will work with both the consumer service and ODB, and will include the ability to see (read-only) offline files.
Beyond this, Microsoft has plans to deliver a number of other features, including offline mobile file editing, offline mobile folders, PDF annotation on mobile clients, modern attachments for Outlook, and external share expirations.
Obviously, the new sync client is the big news. So I will look at that in a subsequent article.