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

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  • BrokenCrayons - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    High-impact gamer huh? Does that sort of person have to wear special impact protection while playing computer games in order to reduce the number of head injuries?
  • Michael Bay - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    With a typical install media taking around 15 Gb at most, you literally have to be a mental case, some kind of fucked-up digital hoarder, to take up 75 Tb.
  • dsraa - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    I agree.....why would you waste all that time to upload 75 TB, I mean that did say TB and not GB right?? That must of taken atleast a month....if not 2-3 weeks.....Damn. just send it to the RIAA at that point....
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    It is not 'all that time' with multi-gigabit wan connections, which are being deployed now.
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    Back of the beer mat calculation; puts it around 83.333hrs for a 2Gb/s pipe.
  • Morawka - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    maybe old titles,, all the new titles coming out are 40GB plus each.. Black Ops 3: 50GB, Battlefield 4: 65GB, GTAV: 48GB.
  • abufrejoval - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    Whoever deposited 75TB there was trying to make a case: Nobody with half a brain should ever advertise unlimited storage. Such an offer is unsustainable and therefore unethical, because it can't ever be serious. There are places in this world were you'd be sued (by the competition) for making such an offer, because they'd only have two choices: a) look worse, b) also make an unethical or suicidal offer.
    With current HDD and flash storage, the cost of storage might actually flatten out rather soon, while bandwidths seem to step up. 10Gbit to your home seem more realistic today than petabytes in your desktop.

    Funny that...
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    Same with mobile data plans. Put an actual figure on it - or some will take all they can.
  • melgross - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    So? HDDs are cheap these days. Back up locally.
  • Nagorak - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Why the hell would someone back up 75 TB of game installs? Are you smoking something? If it's a single player game you play it once, and probably never again. An MP game has a shelf life of a few years and after that you never play it again. There surely aren't more than a dozen games that I'd feel sad about losing. Plus, even if you "lose" your install, you can re-buy the game for a couple bucks after it's been out a few years.

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