Microsoft kills unlimited OneDrive storage, downgrades free storage to 5GB

Oh, Microsoft. In an announcement yesterday on the OneDrive blog (which we missed because the Alphr team was out in a field planting trees), the company announced that it was making changes to the OneDrive storage plans “in pursuit of productivity and collaboration”. This was Microsoft’s unique way of killing off unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 users, amongst a host of other downgrades for the cloud storage service.

Microsoft kills unlimited OneDrive storage, downgrades free storage to 5GB

In what has been, unsurprisingly, hailed as a deeply unpopular move by users, Microsoft is capping OneDrive storage for Office 365 users at 1TB; reducing free OneDrive storage from 15GB to 5GB; ending its 15GB bonus “Camera Roll” storage for automatic smartphone photo backups; and shaking up its subscription plans. The 100GB and 200GB paid-for plans are on the way out, and set to be replaced by a $1.99 a month 50GB service. Thanks, Microsoft. Thanks a bunch.

The explanation for the changes on Microsoft’s blog blames “a small number of [Office 365] users… who backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings.” Citing the fact that some of these backups totalled over 75TB, the OneDrive team said that they would be moving away from “focusing on extreme backup scenarios [and] remain focused on delivering high-value productivity.”

So, what now? Users that find themselves caught out by the changes are being given “at least 12 months” to offload their files to other services. Office 365 users who now find that the service no longer fits the bill will get a pro-rated refund, and existing subscribers to standalone OneDrive plans remain unaffected.

In an attempt to soften the blow (and garner a whole heap more subscribers), Microsoft are allowing free users to upgrade to 1TB of storage by redeeming a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, but bear in mind that the sign-up process requires your credit card details. We’ll keep an eye on this to make sure it’s available to UK users, and add a link here as soon as we can.

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