OneDrive Eliminates Unlimited Because Users Used It

Cloud with dollar signMicrosoft’s unlimited storage offer for Office 365 subscribers will drop to 1TB in 2016 according to a post in the OneDrive blog last week.

This unlimited storage offer originates from an August 2014 announcement, but only a few ever received more than 1 TB. According to Microsoft, those few ruined it for the rest of us, stating that they backed up entire PCs, movie and DVR collections, and stored up to 75 TB each.

But the loss of unlimited storage isn’t the only change planned:

  • The 100 GB and 200 GB upgrades replaced by 50 GB upgrade for $1.99 / month
  • 15 GB Camera Roll upgrade bonus will be no longer offered
  • Free account storage to drop from 15 GB to 5 GB

OneDrive for Business is unaffected for now.

What Happens Next?

If you happen to have more than your prescribed limit stored in OneDrive, Microsoft’s response is to get your data out. This is what to expect starting in early 2016:

  • Office 365 accounts with more than 1 TB stored will keep their storage until 11/02/2016. Until you purge, the account will be read-only for 6 months, locked for 12 months, and then they start deleting for you.
  • Free accounts will have 90 days to purge down to 5 GB. Then, until you purge, the account will be read-only for 9 months, locked for 12 months, and then forcibly purged.

Microsoft is also offering a few concessions as a result of the changes as well.

  • Free accounts in excess of 5 GB can claim a free 1-year Office 365 Personal subscription.
  • Current subscribers of the 100 GB or 200 GB plans are not affected
  • Office 365 subscribers can claim a pro-rated refund

It should be noted that at $69.99 / year for 1 TB, Office 365 is still cheaper than most of the competition. $99.99 / year for five 1 TB accounts is still unheard of.

A Betrayal of Trust

These changes have understandably created an uproar of anger within Microsoft’s own fan community. A User Voice post with 59,000 votes and a petition with 6,000 signatures proves that. This is exacerbated by a blog post accusing customers of abusing what they offered and not explaining the drop in free storage.

Storage costs are not decreasing anymore, sometimes even increasing due to multiple natural disasters in Thailand. As evidenced in the blog title, “in pursuit of productivity and collaboration”, Microsoft doesn’t want to be a bulk storage provider, but would rather use OneDrive to drive services. It’s not clear that this will drive Office 365 adoption, but it may make it more profitable.

But the biggest reason for public outcry is not the pricing or storage. OneDrive’s unlimited and generous free storage broke many barriers to cloud adoption. Slamming barriers back down and backing out of promises undermines the trust they’ve been trying to gain. If it happens now, it could happen with other services.

Does this change your opinion of OneDrive? Let us know below.

Mike Lohnash

Mike Lohnash

Mike has nurtured a passion for all things tech for over ten years as a hobbyist, retailer, tech supporter, and spreadsheet jockey. He’s been an optimistic evangelist for the power of the cloud since the days of server-aided file sharing. In his spare time he loves reading and writing about faraway lands, playing games within them, and has a slightly unhealthy obsession for Star Wars.

Mike Lohnash

Mike Lohnash

Latest posts by Mike Lohnash (see all)