(MoneyWatch) Microsoft's (MSFT) SkyDrive service has always been something of an odd duck. Back when most Internet cloud offerings were in their infancy, SkyDrive delivered a massive 25GB of storage. At the time, though, the product didn't integrate into Windows at all, making it essentially unusable as a business tool.
Then came Windows 8. SkyDrive grew up, able to compete head on with Dropbox, SygarSync and other competing online storage services. Microsoft dropped the initial free allotment to 7GB, but let you upgrade to 100GB if needed. Now, just in time for Windows 8.1, there's a beefier upgrade available.
You can now upgrade to 200GB on SkyDrive for $100 a year. That's half the price of what Dropbox charges for the same amount of online storage.
The deal is even better if you are in the market for a tablet PC. According to the Windows blog, you get 200GB of SkyDrive space for free for two years if you purchase either a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2.
The additional storage space may be welcome for Windows users, as Windows 8 now puts additional emphasis on SkyDrive as a default storage location, letting you easily save data and files to the cloud from any program. And Windows uses what it calls "smart files" -- it copies icons representing all of your cloud files to all of your devices, but doesn't download them until you need them, saving local storage space as well as wireless bandwidth.