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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  • lmcd - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    No edit comment but that's 70 GB of music, which is a lot but not insane. Time for an Android phone and Google Play again, it seems.
  • evancox10 - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    For just music, you might want to check out Amazon's Music Storage subscription at $25/year. (Different from Prim Music.) It used to be fairly buggy wrt to uploading and matching songs, but the quality has improved over time. I'm happy with it.
  • Morawka - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    Google's music does this for free, and it's unlimited. Matches even pirated music (not that i condone it or anything)
  • Glaurung - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Jump through a few hoops and you can upgrade any dropbox account to 5 or 6gb easily (3gb bonus for downloading their photo app, 1gb for downloading the OS X mail app that they bought for some inscrutable reason). Invite a few of your alternative email addresses to join dropbox and that can go higher. Yes it's more stingy than other services, but the number of mobile apps that have dropbox support baked in is huge.
  • melgross - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    I don't believe that Microsoft did this because of the "sins" of the few. This is just an excuse. Otherwise, what does a few people using many TBs of storage have to do with cutting the minimum levels?cwhat DOS it have to do with eliminating the camera role? What does it have to do with eliminating the other tears of service, and having a new one at higher prices?

    I'm pretty sure that Microsoft found that what they were doing was costing them bucks, and they didn't like that, so they went to this. People should understand that storage costs about the same for Microsoft as it does for other vendors. Both Amazon and Google do t care if they make a profit on this or not, so they offer it at very low prices. Apple does care, so they charge a bit more. Microsoft cares as well, but they thought they could do it. They obviously found that they couldn't, but, for some reason, don't want to admit that, so they're finding an excuse.

    Stupid. They should just tell the truth, people would be happier.
  • freeskier93 - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Oh yeah, as a non paying customer you're really going to show Microsoft by removing all your data and not using OneDrive... C'mon, the only reason these cloud storage services have free tiers is in hopes you'll then upgrade to a payed service. If you don't upgrade then they couldn't give a shit if you go somewhere else. You're not paying, you're not of any benefit to them.

    I suspect there are very few people using just OneDrive by itself, majority of users are O365 subscribers, which this really doesn't affect. It's likely the turnover rate of free users is super low, which is why they are throttling back the free space. Microsoft doesn't really lose anything here.
  • K_Space - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    Actually as a case in point I have moved completley from OneDrive. Simply put: free users are potential paying users. Screw them like this and you can be sure they are no more. I am now PAYING for Amazon Glacier. Smart businesses are the ones who eye up the potentially paying customer.
  • K_Space - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    and judging by the backlash on the net; they havent just lost the potentially paying users but also a number those who are on their paid tiers.
  • Bob Todd - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Exactly this. If the reason for the changes are really the 1% who are abusing the system they are handling this all wrong. If they wanted to offer "unlimited" in the same sense that fake "unlimited" plans exist from telcos and cable companies, they should have just put something in the TOS about "reasonable use" and carved out the abusers separately as exceptions. I'm sure automatic usage reporting is already setup, tying that to automated warning emails and account restrictions should be trivial from a development perspective. Punishing only the abusers would not be overly burdensome from a labor/cost perspective. Instead they chose to create a PR nightmare and reverse all the positive momentum they built with the unlimited announcement.
  • lmcd - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    This reduction actually just screwed me, and I'm probably going to quit using Microsoft products over it.

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