Microsoft Kills Unlimited OneDrive Storage, Blames User Abuse - InformationWeek

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11/3/2015
01:06 PM
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Microsoft Kills Unlimited OneDrive Storage, Blames User Abuse

Microsoft claims abusers are forcing its hand and the company will dramatically reduce its free online storage offerings beginning next year.

Office 2016: 8 Enterprise-Worthy Features
Office 2016: 8 Enterprise-Worthy Features
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Microsoft said Monday it plans to cut free and paid OneDrive storage allotments due to abuse. The company is slashing storage totals across the board in a rare cloud crackdown.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Microsoft has offered unlimited OneDrive cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers for about a year. The idea of "unlimited" storage apparently served as a dare to a handful of users, who decided to store literally every digital bit in their lives on Microsoft's servers.

"A small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75TB per user or 14,000 times the average," said Microsoft in a blog post. This did not make Microsoft happy, and it decided to drop the hammer on everyone rather than ban those few who took advantage of Microsoft's generous offer.

(Image: Nicolas McComber/iStockphoto)

(Image: Nicolas McComber/iStockphoto)

Microsoft will now no longer offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. These users will now be capped at 1TB of OneDrive storage. That's still a healthy amount, but 1TB can be filled quickly when media files are involved. Microsoft said customers who have more than 1TB already in storage will be able to keep the excess allotment for 12 months. Microsoft will issue prorated refunds to people who feel the changes make Office 365 unattractive.

The 100GB and 200GB paid plans are going away as an option moving forward, though people who already pay for them can keep them. From now on, the highest paid offering will be limited to 50GB and cost $1.99 per month. This change takes effect in early 2016.

[Read Outlook On iOS, Android Gets UI Revamp.]

Perhaps most painfully, free OneDrive storage will drop from 15GB to 5GB for all users, current and new. This includes the 15GB camera roll bonus (granted when people choose to auto-backup photos from smartphones). This change also takes place in early 2016. Those using more than the 5GB free allotment will also be able to keep their excess storage for 12 months. Moreover, Microsoft said customers will be able to redeem a free one-year Office 365 Personal subscription, which comes with 1TB of OneDrive storage.

The drop in free storage is severe, representing a 66% cut. Google Drive, by way of comparison, still offers 15GB of free online storage with a Google account.

"OneDrive has always been designed to be more than basic file storage and backup. These changes are needed to ensure that we can continue to deliver a collaborative, connected, and intelligent service. They will allow us to continue to innovate and make OneDrive the best option for people who want to be productive and do more," concluded Microsoft.

What do you think? Is this a measured response, or way too harsh?

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

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