For those of you who missed it there was a recent “controversy” of sorts over the last few days. As we know, Microsoft has their own online storage service called OneDrive. About a year ago, Microsoft announced that they they would allow Office 365 subscribers to store unlimited data on their OneDrive storage. Even those who were just using the free storage were able to store up to 15GB of their data on OneDrive.
Fast forward to Monday just gone and Microsoft put out another blog post to announce some changes that angered many people.
Basically, if you are an Office 365 subscriber, then you will no longer have unlimited OneDrive storage. Instead your unlimited storage will be decreased to 1TB.
If you are not an Office 365 subscriber and you use the 15GB of free storage then your quota (if you want to call it that) will be decreased from 15GB down to 5GB.
If you are currently over your 5GB quota then Microsoft will offer you a free Office 365 subscription.
What if you are a free user who has earned some bonus storage through a promotion or some other special offer? Well, according to the FAQ that accompanies the blog post it seems you are not affected. Some of you might still have 25GB of free storage on your OneDrive. Back when Microsoft changed SkyDrive to OneDrive they also gave you the option to lock in your 25GB of free storage. If you have then you are not affected by the free storage quota decreasing.
Microsoft also offers up an additional 15GB storage if you installed OneDrive on your smartphone and set it to automatically backup your photos.
Now you might wonder why they did this? The answer is that they are blaming people who were abusing the unlimited storage. “Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings,”. The blog posting went on to say that in some instances “this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average”.
In my opinion this is quite an odd move for many reasons. First of all, they offered up unlimited storage. As such you would expect some people (albeit a super small percentage) to upload as much as 75TB of stuff. That’s about 1500 blu-ray movies.
Additionally, if you are offering up a service you would want people to use it as much as possible. Again, by offering up unlimited storage you are giving people permission to do so. However, it seems like Microsoft are basically punishing the vast majority of users because a very tiny percentage of people are abusing the unlimited storage service.
with that being said 1TB for office 365 subscribers is still a lot of storage. The vast majority of users would probably struggle to upload 1TB of storage.
With that said, I have also been tipped off to a petition to get Microsoft to reverse this decision. At the time of publishing this article it has received 60,000 votes.
This is all well and good but there is also the business angle to this. When you upload something to a service like Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive your data is actually stored in a data center on a hard drive. This data has to be copied to other hard drives. If the hard drive with your data on it goes bad/fails then your data is gone. Someone at Microsoft must have looked at the cost of copying the data across multiple hard drives. They then must have looked at how much revenue Office 365 is generating and decided that it’s not worth offering unlimited OneDrive storage.
With that being said Microsoft do reserve the right to make changes as they please. In signing up for a Microsoft account you are agreeing to those changes being made with some notice being given.
With all this complaining you might be saying “Adi, go somewhere else”. If you are a user of the free 5GB option and you want more storage, perhaps you should go somewhere else. There are also other choices out there. Copy (another online storage service) offers up 20GB of free storage. Flickr offers 1TB of free storage for your photos and videos. Google’s photos allows you to upload unlimited storage for free as long as your photos are up to 16 megapixels in resolution and videos are up to 1080p (full HD) in resolution. Google offers up 15GB of storage with Google Drive. Box.com gives you 10GB of storage but each file can be no larger than 250 megabytes.
Do you think that Microsoft are right in decreasing OneDrive storage? Do you think that people are angry for no reason? Let me know in the comments.