05 Nov 2015
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OneDrive storage slashing raises ire

By Patrick Pilcher

As reported yesterday, Microsoft has announced sweeping changes to their OneDrive cloud storage service, with the Seattle based software giant said they’re axing unlimited storage for Office 365 subscribers, reducing storage plans/capacities for other users.

In a blog, Microsoft says that “Instead of focusing on extreme backup scenarios, we want to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users.”

Office 365 subscribers originally received unlimited OneDrive storage. However yesterday’s announcements saw changes introduced because people were abusing OneDrive’s unlimited storage. According to the blog, some users were consuming a whopping 75TB of storage space.

Changes to OneDrive quotas will see Office 365 users having 1TB of OneDrive storage. 100GB and 200GB paid OneDrive storage offers are also being consigned to the scrapheap, replaced with a 50GB plan at US$1.99 per month. Free OneDrive storage will be slashed from 15GB to 5GB, and the extra 15GB storage bonus for storing photos will also end.

These changes are expected to come into effect in early 2016 and existing users who currently exceed existing storage limits will be given a 12-month grace period to reduce their storage consumption.

The move has attracted the ire of OneDrive users. Although relatively few have complained about Microsoft’s move to end unlimited OneDrive storage, many are questioning why other OneDrive storage quotas are being shrunk/axed when a fair use clause could have been introduced and the users who abused it removed.  

Others have adopted a more cynical perspective, saying that the move could be part of a plan to get users hooked on a cheap/free service, and that upping fees once OneDrive becomes a deeply entwined part of any ongoing computing activities was commercially motivated.

Angered users aside, killing off the OneDrive camera roll offer (which gave users an additional 15GB to store Smartphone photos) ends a key adoption point into OneDrive, and has the potential to impact on future uptake. Making matters worse, large numbers of disgruntled users are also threatening to move to other cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

While outraged users continue to vent their displeasure online, IDC’s Australasian Managing director, Ullrich Loeffler believes that predicting the fallout from Microsoft’s announcement won’t be straightforward:

“It is challenging to predict how Microsoft’s announcement will impact the behavior of consumer and business customers. The public cloud market specifically has been heavily contested on price over the last year but we see price sensitivity reduced by other factors driving the provider selection process. The volatility in currencies over the last year would have also added to the challenge. Switching providers requires substantial transitioning work especially for business clients where Office365 may be integrated in workflows and different applications”

OneDrive Alternatives

Google drive: Google give 15GB of free storage, which includes Gmail messages. Photos also don't count toward the 15GB limit. Paid storage can be had for up to 30TB.

iCloud : Included storage from Apple starts at 5GB, more storage can be bought for up to US$10 for 1TB.

Amazon cloud drive: Amazon cloud users get unlimited photo storage plus 5GB for other files. Additional unlimited storage can be had for US$60 a year.

Dropbox: By default Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage, but users can gain extra space once they get colleagues to sign up for Dropbox account. Additional storage of up to a terabyte can be had for US$10. 

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