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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  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    "First, subscribers to Office 365 consumer will have their storage allotment reduced from unlimited to 1 TB"

    I was only ever offered 1TB with my subscription(Uk based)
    Reply
  • marvdmartian - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Just like the local drug pusher. Lure them in with "free" samples, get 'em hooked, then sock it to them! Reply
  • Gadgety - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Oh. So it's unlimited unless you use it. But of course. This shows what's going to happen under Satya Nadella.

    The storage thing is just a minor aspect. I think the "free" Windows 10 upgrade is worse. Incessantly pestering paying Windows 7 buyers with shareware like advertising for Windows 10. Trying to beat paying customers into submission, making everyone tired and give up. Once you're in, Msft will change the rules, of course. I got this nasty ad every morning starting my pc up. Called Microsoft's support line because the update that created this was hidden. They put me in a 45 min line, which included three so called service technicians who couldn't explain what had happened, nor had a remedy for it put referring to the next guy, which all ended with a "hold on, I'll be right back" which turned to a final 10 minute silence and then my call was dropped.

    They threw a shoe at the former CEO, time for something heavier?

    The money feels good
    And your life you like it well
    But surely your time will come
    As in heaven, as in hell
    Reply
  • Sn3akr - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Well.. They offered a "free service" and now they have a lot of users.
    Time has come to slaughter the fattened cow.
    It leaves the users with only two choises, upgrade your storage at home or cough up the greens! Nice con,
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    I *just* signed up for Office 365 a few weeks ago (which I kind of can't believe I did, but anyway...) and it was already reduced to 1TB...I hadn't realized it was ever anything else.

    I'm still showing both 15GB free, and 15GB camera roll bonus (among others), though it sounds like they might go away next year.

    I don't really care from a certain perspective, as I'm not willing to give third parties access to ALL my files, I can't use it for a lot of types of things anyway, as bandwidth is neither free nor particularly fast.

    Still, now that Windows 10 lets you use OneDrive while being logged in to Windows with a *local* account (Windows 8.1 didn't allow that), I'm actually starting to use OneDrive a bit to sync some personal documents around.
    Reply
  • BadCommand - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Trusting your data to ANY of these cloud storage numbskulls is data suicide. The big contenders add and drop services like circus clowns juggling plates (just look at google's long list of service closures). And the other small time players are just that- schmaltzy bit players that randomly lose data and/or will drop like flies in the next economic crunch because they are barely hanging on now. Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    I've actually been using free tiers of Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive simultaneously for a while as I have various bonuses on each... 22GB on Dropbox thru referrals, 27GB with Google thru security and temp bonuses, 25GB on OneDrive after being grandfathered in from Live Mesh.

    I might just cut OneDrive loose tho, the random plan changes don't seem like a good sign, and having seen the nightmare that is One Drive for business and Team Sites I don't have a ton of confidence in it's basic sync abilities either.

    Tighter integration within Windows is nice and all but the others just work more reliably IMO, and Amazon's giving me unlimited JPEG/RAW storage with Prime to boot so...
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    People actually pay money for cloud storage? Why would you pay money to have a giant corporation sifting through all your data and using it to generate whatever profits they can? Reply
  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Just use Mega, 50GB free. Reply
  • 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. Reply

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