Microsoft’s OneDrive team put up a blog post today outlining some changes coming to OneDrive, and the news is not good for pretty much anyone using the service. Just barely a year after announcing that OneDrive would offer unlimited storage for subscribers to Office 365 consumer and business, the Redmond company has decided to back out on that commitment. Here are the changes.

First, subscribers to Office 365 consumer will have their storage allotment reduced from unlimited to 1 TB. This is clearly a significant downgrade, and any users who are using more than 1 TB will be notified, and their data will be kept for “over 12 months” before it is reduced. Microsoft is attributing this to some users gobbling up excessive storage, with an example given of a single user having 75 TB of cloud storage used up. The reduction will mean that Office 365 Personal will be 1 TB, and Office 365 Home will be 1 TB for up to five people, or 5 TB total. If you are over the 1 TB limit though, tough luck. Microsoft will not be offering tiers higher than 1 TB even at an increased cost.

The bad news doesn’t stop there though. The paid 100 GB and 200 GB tiers are now gone, and have been replaced with a single 50 GB offering for $1.99 per month. So you get half the storage now for the same price. Previously the 100 GB plan was $2 per month and the 200 GB option was $4 per month. This seriously reduces the number of tiers, and you now go from free, to 50 GB, to 1 TB, with no other options anywhere else.

And, they may as well sweeten the pot with even more reductions. The free tier, which originally started at 25 GB, and was then reduced to 5 GB, and increased again to 15 GB, is once again reduced to 5 GB. They are now in-line with what Apple offers with iCloud, but Google Drive is still 15 GB for free. This is a massive reduction, and to add more salt to the wound, anyone who had been using the extra 15 GB free for using the camera roll feature of OneDrive will also have that removed.

This makes the new OneDrive look like this:

Microsoft OneDrive
Storage Allotments Free Tier Paid Tier 1 Paid Tier 2 Office 365 Consumer
Current Allotment 15 GB + 15 GB Camera Roll 100 GB for $2/month 200 GB for $4/month Unlimited Storage
New Allotment 5 GB 50 GB for $2/month No second tier 1 TB

Clearly, this is a massive reduction in service for most users. Microsoft is trying to lay the blame on several users with excessive amounts of cloud storage use, but that is likely not the motivating factor. They could easily have dealt with these users on an individual basis without the massive reductions in service, and paid users abusing the paid system should not affect the free system.

There is more information in the blog post which I would guess was posted accidentally. Microsoft says that the 75 TB user was using “14,000 times the average” which means that the average allotment of OneDrive use is just 5 GB of storage, despite paying for unlimited.

So there are a lot of use cases to be addressed. As I already mentioned, if you are over 1 TB of OneDrive, you will be notified and your data will be kept for at least 12 months before it is cleared out. If OneDrive is no longer what you want to use, you can apply for a pro-rated refund of your subscription. If you are currently subscribing to the 100 GB and 200 GB plans, there are no changes, and any changes will only affect new subscribers. If you are using the free tier, and are over the 5 GB limit that will be imposed, you will receive a free year of Office 365 personal and the 1 TB allotment that comes with it, assuming you provide a credit card. If you don’t want to provide a credit card, your data will be kept for at least 12 months as well.

Microsoft is going to implement these changes in early 2016. OneDrive is still one of the best prices for 1 TB, but these kinds of wholesale changes to the product are going to have ripple effects for some time to come. If you were using just the free tier, there are certainly other solutions which offer more storage at no cost now.

Source: OneDrive Blog

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  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Just use Mega, 50GB free.
  • CSMR - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Satisfying the group of consumers that want huge storage at below cost or even for free is not a winning strategy. I hope now they develop their product to target a more serious market: people who are willing to pay a reasonable cost but want a functional, feature-complete and reliable product. I'm happy they raised the price because now they are forced to compete on features.
  • JDG1980 - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    Except they've actually been cutting down on the features. By all accounts, sync in Windows 10 is worse than in Windows 8 (no placeholders for online files).
  • CSMR - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    I agree they are short on features but that feature is more of a consumer-level feature that makes the product more complicated since it requires OS integration. I don't see businesses clamoring for this feature although I agree it is useful on mobile storage-limited devices.
  • CSMR - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    I agree they are short on features but placeholders is more of a consumer-level feature that makes the product more complicated since it requires OS integration. I don't see businesses clamoring for this feature. In fact Win8 Onedrive required login with a Microsoft account and was then linked to that Onedrive account only! The Win8 Onedrive product was just badly thought out: yes they had a nice feature but it was obviously too hard for them to implement properly.
  • Ramon Zarat - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    That's what you get from a closed garden golden prison of "paid services" instead of owning your own stuff.

    Once your stuff is in their cloud and you rely on their "'services", like Office 365, they got you by your proverbial balls. They can and will unilaterally change every single agreements made before to their advantages, taking you in hostage, forcing your hand, exactly like they just did to One Drive.

    All this is only confirming the fascist Orwellian dictatorship M$ has become in the last decade.
  • rungholt - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Microsoft, this is fantastic advertising for the new Lumia 950/950XL. Hey, get a new Lumia, but we will cut down your camera roll to 5GB, and there won't be enough space to back up your phone either. I considered upgrading from my Lumia 925, not anymore. The new Nexus phones look fantastic ...
  • denem - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    Microsoft may have killed the EULA. Bait and switch is illegal in most US States. Microsoft knows this, which is why they are offering pro-rata rebates. Not close, no cigar nor cigarette butts. The bait served it's purpose, bringing in Office 365 subscriptions. Get the customers in the door and some of them won't leave. This is the VERY thing the that is illegal under Consumer Legislation.

    Historically courts have accepted the argument that consumers only lease, not purchase software. However, in this case, Microsoft's behaviour shows such knowing contempt for Consumer Law and the subject matter, Microsoft Office, is so significant, that a Court may well be prepared to establish precedent. If so, their EULA can't save them any more than the fine print on any other prohibited practice. Dead letter EULAs - thanks Microsoft, the industry will thank you.
  • nils_ - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    I think this should serve as a cautionary tale to users of all services of this kind. They can hold your data hostage for ransom this way if they just cut your storage space when they feel like it, and the contract isn't worth anything. Sure you can sue them but until it makes it to court your data is gone, so the only solution is to try and get it out - surprise surprise this can also be restricted especially since net neutrality is a joke, as well as connection speeds in many places.

    I really wonder though how someone got 75TB uploaded, even at Gigabit that's over a week at maximum speed.
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    Say what you will...

    But I saw this coming when I first heard of the subscription office / storage combination.

    I'm not surprised at all. Actually, I'm more surprised people would want to leave their precious data in the hands of such a company - with the record they have with peoples' data.

    Either way - HA.

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