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Microsoft cuts OneDrive for Office users

Microsoft has today dropped their promise of ‘unlimited’ OneDrive storage for Office 365 customers.  Their lame excuse for the reduction is an insult to their customers.

“Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away”

What Office 365 subscribers (Home, Personal and University) now get:

  • 1TB of OneDrive storage, down from ‘unlimited’ storage.
  • If you’re using a lot of OneDrive space, you have a year to reduce your OneDrive use to below the 1TB level.
  • There’s no change in the Office 365 annual fee, despite the major change.
    • If you had Office 365 solely for the large OneDrive space you can apply for a partial refund.

Non-paying OneDrive customers did get 15GB of storage with bonus space if you used their ‘Camera Roll’ feature.  That’s getting cut too:

  • ‘Free’ customers get just 5GB from 2016.
  • The Camera Roll bonus has been dropped.
  • Anyone now using more than 5GB has a year to get their OneDrive use below that level.

It was just over a year ago, Microsoft announced that Office 365 customers would get ‘unlimited’ OneDrive storage.

Now, according to Microsoft, a small number of customers have (shock, horror, surprise) actually taken up that offer and used a lot of OneDrive space. A few people have used up to 75TB, which is a hell of a lot of storage space.

Redmond’s own statistics prove that they are using a few high-volume customers as an excuse to cut OneDrive access to everyone.  The average OneDrive customer uses a mere 5.5GB so the few users of 75TB are very extreme outliers.

Those few paying customers are the exception that Microsoft must have known would happen when they changed to ‘unlimited’ storage.  Yet they use it as an excuse to cut the benefit for all.

It’s a bit like an ‘All you can eat’ buffet complaining when some customers eat a lot of food.

On a practical level, 1 Terabyte (1,000 GB) might be enough for most people but it’s far from what Microsoft was ‘selling’ to Office 365 customers.  It would be far better for Microsoft to set a 10TB limit which was the effective limit shown to OneDrive to Office 365 customers (people who wanted more had to ask for a higher limit).

Here’s the current (5 Nov 2015) OneDrive storage display for an Office 365 Home customer.

The still ‘unlimited’ storage is shown as ’10TB’.  Unless Microsoft changes their mind, this will drop to 1TB.

In our view, Microsoft should set OneDrive storage for paying Office 365 customers to 10TB.  That’s effectively ‘unlimited’ for most people.  Many customers will be content to know that they don’t have to worry about cloud storage availability up to that high level.  In practice, most people will use much less than 10TB anyway.

Microsoft’s lame and somewhat conflicting excuse is an insult to their customers.  Surely better to admit that ‘unlimited’ wasn’t possible to maintain for the price?\

The real story

Most likely, Microsoft is trying to cut costs by reducing their need for more cloud servers and storage.  A quick and easy way to do that is reducing the OneDrive limit without cutting the price people pay for Office 365.

Another possible reason is that that ‘unlimited cloud storage’ offer has done its job.  The ‘unlimited’ offer was another inducement for people to pay Microsoft annually for Office which is now not needed.  It was also a way to battle against rivals like Google and Dropbox.

There’s various rumors going around to explain this drastic change.  Some think there’s a secret deal with Dropbox.  Without proof, these are just rumors.  The simple cost cutting explanation is the most likely.

The OneDrive limit changes are an example and warning to Office 365 customers. Microsoft can, and will, change what you get for your annual tribute.

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