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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  • blackcrayon - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Actually, as someone who handles backups for a business I was thinking maybe some admin thought he/she was clever and decided to put the full backups for the entire company up on OneDrive for redundancy :) It wouldn't be practical but it would be a lot cheaper than actually dedicated enterprise cloud backup services.
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    Crossed my mind too.

    You can be sure they encrypted those backups, giving MS no info at all what was 'there'.
  • Redowan - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    I don't care whether they are still better in 1tb price tier or not,I cannot trust a service that cannot stick to a plan for more than a year.I fucking hate MS.They keep changing their service name,price tier.I'm do you know they aren't goint to change it again?
  • K_Space - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    Aye, totally agree. The issue here is that of TRUST. They've totally and royally screwed this one up. I've already moved to S3 but dang: getting my head around Amazon Glacier pricing is doing my head in!
  • JDG1980 - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    The Microsoft blog post announcing this says that "a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings". In other words, yes, people were storing MKVs on the service - and more importantly, Microsoft is snooping on the details of user behavior. This announcement basically destroys all trust whatsoever in the privacy, security, and reliability of Microsoft's cloud services.
  • inighthawki - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    Yeah, I guess I can't speak for everyone, but there was definitely no trust broken in that statement. Being able to analyze the contents stored on their own servers is a right they have to ensure people are adhering to the terms of service. As far as I see, they had no invasion of privacy and did not share any of this content or information with third parties that would suggest any breach of trust.
  • Lerianis - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    With all due respect, inighthawki, you have the right to format shift in the real world. The people uploaded their entire movie collections and DVR recordings were doing absolutely NOTHING wrong.
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Fair enough - but my point was that Microsoft has a right to know what files are being stored on their servers, and have a right to adjust their policies if they feel people are abusing it. There was no invasion of privacy, nor trust broken.
  • nico_mach - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    How is using unlimited storage abuse? It isn't. The whole statement stinks. 75TB is still less than infinity, isn't it? No one forced MS to offer unlimited storage, nor is it relevant WHAT they are storing.

    Calling an individual user out - someone who wasn't abusing the system - should break your trust.
  • Mushkins - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    But it *is* relevant what they are storing. Unlimited or no, the terms of service are pretty clear about what kinds of content are and are not allowed to be stored on the service. In order to enforce the agreement that those customers willingly agreed to, Microsoft can view the files stored on *their* servers for *their* service.

    You bet when there's a 75TB outlier someone is going to dig into whats going on and if theres a ToS breach involved.

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