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Microsoft OneDrive changes means downgrades all round

by David Ross on 3 November 2015, 13:06

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Microsoft has announced some significant changes to its OneDrive storage plans. It says the planned changes are to be implemented in "pursuit of productivity and collaboration" but it's hard to see anything productive or positive about the changes, from a user perspective. The overall trend in Microsoft's announcement is that of cutting storage allowances and bonuses. Even paid subscriber plans are being scaled back. The changes look set to impact starting from the beginning of 2016.

The changes to OneDrive are being partly blamed on service 'abusers'. In a blog post, trying to provide reason for its impending huge storage cuts, Microsoft bleats that its unlimited cloud storage offer to Office 365 consumer subscribers was used by some to store entire movie collections and DVR recordings. It went on to inform readers that "In some instances, this exceeded 75TB per user, or 14,000 times the average." Apparently that goes against the grain of the OneDrive service which isn't intended to be an "extreme backup" solution, but as a high-value productivity and collaboration platform.

Microsoft's OneDrive changes are bullet pointed as follows:

  • We're no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1TB of OneDrive storage.
  • 100GB and 200GB paid plans are going away as an option for new users and will be replaced with a 50GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016.
  • Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15GB to 5GB for all users, current and new. The 15GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.

Furthermore if you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and have stored in excess of 1TB you will be notified and given another year to figure out what to do with your files. Such users will also be given the option of a pro-rata refund. Free users with over 5GB of files will also get a year to move around excess files. Current 100GB or 200GB OneDrive subscribers won't be affected but new users won't have access to those plans.

Through various promotions I currently have 130GB available on OneDrive (as above, 6GB used up) which I have used for smartphone/tablet camera auto-uploads for about 18 months. I'm hoping for a U-turn or amendment to some of the proposed changes, but it looks like I have plenty of storage for the next 15 months thanks to a 'Bing Bonus' that I can't even remember getting. The OneDrive free user capacity slashing to 5GB provides even less storage than when it was launched (7GB), and competitors like Google Drive offer a base free level of 15GB of cloud storage.



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This doesn't make sense if it's really because of small minority of people who had the temerity to think “unlimited” meant there was no limit on what they could store. Since it seems the average user stores around 5GB (which happens to be how much I'm using out of 1TB on my Office subscription) a cap of 1TB or half that even would effectively be ‘unlimited’ for 99% of people. OneDrive is so slow I can't imagine wanting to store anywhere near 1TB on it.
I'm hoping for a U-turn or amendment to some of the proposed changes, but it looks like I have plenty of storage for the next 15 months thanks to a ‘Bing Bonus’ that I can't even remember getting. The OneDrive free user capacity slashing to 5GB provides even less storage than when it was launched (7GB), and competitors like Google Drive offer a base free level of 15GB of cloud storage.
Like you I'm hoping that this knee-jerk reaction gets some rethinking. The most obvious thing I'd want rethought is the 15GB uplift for camera roll. That seems like a reasonable use (sharing photos) and 15GB isn't exactly going to break the bank
We're no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1TB of OneDrive storage.
News to me that Office 365 Home had unlimited storage - when I checked the “Family Pack” was five users, each with 1TB. Which, for the money that Microsoft were asking for a subscription, seemed like a pretty good deal.
EDIT: I just checked and the Plans option still has this “Special Offer” available:
Office 365 Home includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage for each household member (up to 5) and the latest Office applications for 5 PCs or Macs and 5 tablets.
I have 18Gb free storage on my Dropbox account (thanks to referrals), and I subscribed to One Drive for the 200Gb $3.99/month option

200Gb seemed like a nice amount to store my music and photos. But given I'm using 60Gb currently I think I might switch to Google Drive for half the cost and half the storage (still plenty of room for the foreseeable future).

Given Microsoft's recent financial results have been boosted by their cloud storage options this just seems like they going all “apple” in how they're pricing themselves.

My experience with OneDrive has been okay, but it's no dropbox and with Google's recent improvements to it's photo browsing experience I see very little reason to stay with Microsoft. That's compounded by the fact I'm a Google user through and through…taking this approach it probably going to see Microsoft lose the only play they had to make me consider switching my digital habits towards their services and products.

They're still playing catch up in many areas and this kind of practise is going to harm the overall Microsoft ecosystem in the long term.
Looks as if they have priced it at a similar level to iCloud, I pay 79p/ month for 50Gb.

Google drive gives a 15GB free allowance, but the subscription plans are around a similar price. It has the advantage of being more ‘universal’ than either Apple's or Microsoft's offerings in that it is available to Android devices.
Just been thinking about this - anyone of the opinion that Microsoft's management has seen the bill for all the storage needed and panicked? If folks ARE abusing the system by storing Terabytes then surely the answer is to impose some data caps? I'm no PR expert but I'm pretty sure that this'd be an easier “sell” to the public than what they're stuck with in this announcement.

Actually I quite like OneDrive, although I'd like it even more if it had a Windows7 client that was a bit quicker … oh and a native Linux client. Of course, I wouldn't be looking at OneDrive if Dropbox wasn't so expensive (and DB, unlike both OneDrive and GoogleDrive, actually DOES have a Linux client!)

Not a big fan of Google's Drive - despite being pretty “in to” the whole Google “experience” I find Drive to be quite sluggish and not as easy to use as the others. Plus there's always the suspicion that your camera roll is going to end up being exposed to public gaze.