Last year, Microsoft seemed to be intent on pushing OneDrive as a serious competitor to the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive. It announced several promos, some of them permanent, to entice users to switch over to its cloud storage solution. Among them was a 15 GB starting space for all free accounts. Now it seems that Microsoft is rather abruptly and unceremoniously putting a stop to most of those benefits, ending the unlimited storage offer for Office 365 users and reducing the free storage from 15 to 5 GB. All because of abusers.
Microsoft offered Office 365 subscribers, who are already paying a monthly fee, an unlimited amount of space on OneDrive. The company, of course, envisioned that this space will be used for serious business. But unlimited is unlimited and is honestly tempting, and so users started uploading movie collections, personal files, and DVR recordings. In short, they turned OneDrive into their cheap backup solution, arguably at the expense of well-behaved users. And so Microsoft is reducing those perks. No more unlimited storage for you. Instead, you only get 1 TB for your Office 365 subscription, unless you pay extra. That should probably be enough for most office scenarios, unless your work happens to really involve large media files.
But it isn’t just Office 365 users who are getting affected. Free users will see their storage reduced from 15 GB to 5 GB. Curiously, that’s even lower than the 7 GB that OneDrive offered before Microsoft raised the limit last year. Microsoft made that change in order to match Google Drive’s own baseline, which was also 15 GB. Now OneDrive will have one of the lowest starting points, next to Dropbox’s 2 GB. In addition, Microsoft is also removing the 15 GB bonus from the camera roll.
Other changes include scrapping the 100 GB and 200 GB tiers. Now there will only be a 50 GB plan for $1.99 a month. All of these changes will take place in 2016 and users who have exceeded 1 TB or 5 GB, as the case may be, will be informed and given 12 months to either remove their files or take a hike. Based on some rather disappointed reactions, many will do the latter instead.
On the one hand, it is understandable that Microsoft reacted negatively to users who abused their privilege, but the changes almost feel like a knee-jerk reaction rather than a long-term business plan. Many are asking why users who have done nothing wrong, which we presume to be the majority, are getting punished for the misguided actions of a few, especially as there is no way for them to police their fellows. The even bigger question is how Microsoft plans to turn OneDrive around into a profitable business now that it has practically removed everything that made it desirable and have given users, both old and new, reason to be wary of trusting the company.