The Internet is angry at Microsoft. After promising unlimited storage with the Office 365 subscription, and 15 GB of storage for free users, the company has reneged on its promise. All because some users apparently abused the system.
In 2016, the following changes will be implemented:
- Office 365 users will no longer get unlimited storage. It will be reduced to 1 TB.
- Free users will no longer get 15 GB of storage, and will be bumped down to 5 GB. Remember that promotional 15 GB bonus offered to store your smartphone’s photos? That space is gone, too. Basically, forget about making plans on how to use OneDrive’s 15 GB space because you will only get 5 GB.
- Paid 100 GB and 200 GB plans are gone, too, and now you’ll only be offered a 50 GB plan for $2 per month.
In a nutshell, you will have only three storage plans for OneDrive: 5 GB (free), 50 GB ($2 per month), 1 TB ($10 per month or $100 per year, with Office 365).
Why this Change?
Microsoft gets pissed at user with a 76 terabyte OneDrive, downgrades everyone to 1TB max, nerfs free tier to 5GB https://t.co/tpLCGGy7nD
— SecuriTay (@SwiftOnSecurity) November 3, 2015
In a blog post, the OneDrive team explained their decision:
A small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average. Instead of focusing on extreme backup scenarios, we want to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users.
Microsoft wants you to believe that they are the innocent good guys who were taken advantage of. All that happened was that after advertising unlimited storage, some users started using it as unlimited storage. And they’re the villains? Hey Microsoft, maybe it’s time to go back to school:
And even if a few users did “abuse” the policy in Microsoft’s parlance, there was still no reason to apply this. More importantly, how does that abuse matter to free users and their 15 GB storage? Why is that being rolled back to 5 GB? It simply doesn’t make sense.
Ed Bott, who has been writing about Microsoft longer than I’ve known how to write, has railed about how big a betrayal this is. Don’t buy Microsoft’s spiel about the few rotten eggs, he puts the blame squarely on the Windows maker.
— Ed Bott (@edbott) November 3, 2015
Over the past few years, the maker of Windows has received a lot of love from press and users, this author included, for their OneDrive plans. Stuff like the 100 GB bonus storage giveaway only made it seem like OneDrive was finally the solution to living out of the cloud. The new move undoes all of that trust.
Just annoyed because I've been writing good things about that whenever I mentioned @OneDrive for the last year. Silly me.
— Chris Hoffman (@chrisbhoffman) November 3, 2015
I think the biggest concern of One drive changes is trust. Why should users buy into the ecosystem if they will make negative changes? 1/2
— varundubey (@varundubey) November 4, 2015
Can Microsoft Be Sued for This?
Unfortunately, no. This would fall under a class action lawsuit, and those pesky terms and conditions prevent that from happening.
When you use any Microsoft product like OneDrive, you’re agreeing to these terms and conditions, and they clearly state, “Class action lawsuits, class-wide arbitrations, private attorney-general actions, and any other proceeding where someone acts in a representative capacity aren’t allowed. Nor is combining individual proceedings without the consent of all parties.”
When Do the OneDrive Changes Take Effect?
The Office 365 changes are rolling out already, but other changes come into effect from 2016 onwards. Microsoft will be sending announcements to OneDrive users who are storing more data than their limit, and will give them 90 days to figure out what to do with their data, after which it will become read-only for 9 months. If you are still over the limit after 9 months, Microsoft will delete that data.
Users who have gained extra storage through promotions and offers, like the aforementioned 100 GB of free OneDrive storage, needn’t worry just yet. Microsoft says, “The storage you have as part of other promotions is not affected by this change.” But well, can you really take this company’s word anymore?
You can read more about it in the OneDrive changes F.A.Qs.
Should I Switch to Google Drive or Dropbox?
Honestly, it’s difficult to come up with reasons not to switch, at this point. In any case, our Google Drive vs. SkyDrive office productivity showdown crowned Google as the winner. Google already offers 15 GB of free storage, and will throw in another 2 GB for completing its security and privacy settings walkthrough.
Plus, Google Photos actually gives you unlimited storage. Yes, it reduces your image resolution to 16 megapixels, but for non-professional photographers, that’s really all right.
And even if you want additional storage, it’s much cheaper and more flexible than OneDrive. A monthly $2 gives you 100 GB compared to OneDrive’s 50 GB; $10 gives you the same 1 TB; and there are other plans taking you up to 30 TB for $300.
With Dropbox too, you get 1 TB for $10 per month or $99 per year, so the pricing is the same as OneDrive. However, there’s no office suite thrown in, unlike OneDrive and Google Drive.
How Do I Move Data and Disable OneDrive?
So, you want out of OneDrive? Here’s everything you need to know.
- First, check your OneDrive storage at onedrive.live.com/options/ManageStorage. This will show you how much you have, which promotional offers are active, and how much of that total space is used.
- Similarly, go to www.google.com/settings/storage to check your Google Drive storage. If you have the required free storage to move from OneDrive, proceed to step three. If you don’t have the required storage, you might need to buy it, get more free space, or choose another cloud storage service which offers that free space.
- Head to mover.io, one of the only apps needed to manage all your cloud storage. Sign in with your OneDrive and Google Drive (or other destination cloud service), and run through the wizard that will show you how to transfer all your files. It works smoothly and reliably, in my experience.
Finally, if you’re done with OneDrive for good, Mark has a step-by-step guide to remove and replace OneDrive in Windows 10. If you haven’t yet upgraded to Windows 10, then we also have you covered on how to remove OneDrive from Windows 8.1, which will also work on Windows 8. Previous version of Windows don’t have a deep OneDrive integration.
Can You Trust Microsoft After This?
Cloud storage is all about trust, in my opinion. You don’t have physical access to the drive, so you need to be able to trust the company who is storing all your data.
Worth noting that the @Onedrive blog post was not signed. Nobody wanted to put their name on that toxic sludge,
— Ed Bott (@edbott) November 3, 2015
In one giant backward step, Microsoft has eroded my belief in them and their online services. What about you? Can you still trust Microsoft with your data after this?