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



View All Comments

  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    75TB? Is someone changing their .MKV extensions to .XLSX? LOL

    Even my decently sized collection of Blu-ray backups only take ~30TB.
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    Also, typo in cell C3. "$50 GB for $2/month" Reply
  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    fixed thanks Reply
  • jimhsu - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    Though as a O365 subscriber this news is unfortunate, this had to been seen coming a long time ago. Microsoft was the sole outlier in large corporate cloud-based storage solutions with the unlimited storage scheme (though 75 TB is frankly quite ridiculous), and even after the change, I fail to see a cheaper solution for 1 TB of cloud space anywhere else. Reply
  • jashunt - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    Amazon's unlimited storage is $60 a year with 3 months of free trial. It has all the apps too. If you don't care to have Office, this is the best choice.
  • npz - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Now with that kind of catchy marketing one would ask: would ever use AWS/S3 then?

    "You may use the Service only to store, retrieve, manage, and access Your Files for personal, non-commercial purposes using the features and functionality we make available. You may not use the Service to store, transfer or distribute content of or on behalf of third parties, to operate your own file storage application or service, to operate a photography business or other commercial service, or to resell any part of the Service."

    And of course they can change it at any time. Others who offer pseudo-unlimited put in additional restrictions, like limiting uploads or bandwidth depending on usage or if they determine that your storage use is "disruptive". And others like Backblaze further limit theirs to backing up non-NAS, non-RAID, direct connected drives (e.g. your system and USB drives) only and their downloads on this tier can be very slow.

    Since this came around the time or after MS's announcement, I have to wonder if they'll backtrack here too or put in tighter restrictions around the pseudo-unlimited.
  • npz - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    oh, and no content that can be considered offensive is allowed on Amazon's cloud drive either:

    "You may not share files (a) that contain defamatory, threatening, abusive, pornographic, or otherwise objectionable material, (b) that advocate bigotry, hatred, or illegal discrimination,"
  • TeXWiller - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    You may not share, but to store is fine. The salvation is in the details. ;) The terms are for that personal use Could Drive, not for S3. It will be only a matter of time when the general public discovers the happy-happy-joy-joy of business services and shows the finger to the over-priced, under serviced private offerings. Reply
  • Shadow7037932 - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    You can't share links to it. But you can store it and keep it private. Reply
  • npz - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Also not good overseas. No opaque content i.e. a single large encrypted container. File monitoring, retention and transformation.

    "The Service is offered in the United States. We may restrict access from other locations. There may be limits on the types of content you can store and share using the Service, such as file types we don't support, and on the number or type of devices you can use to access the Service. We may impose other restrictions on use of the Service."

    "We may use, access, and retain Your Files in order to provide the Service to you and enforce the terms of the Agreement, and you give us all permissions we need to do so. These permissions include, for example, the rights to copy Your Files for backup purposes, modify Your Files to enable access in different formats, use information about Your Files to organize them on your behalf, and access Your Files to provide technical support."

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