Microsoft Slashes Free OneDrive Storage to 5gb

onedrive-logoI often despair at Microsoft’s attitude to the Internet.  Ever since Bill Gates  back in the 1990s said the Internet wasn’t going to catch on, the company has shown an at times bizarre approach to what has eventually become hot and trending approaches to work. As an advocate of flexible and remote working I found Microsoft’s stopping development of its PDA (personal digital assistant) windows for mobile software perplexing and , even now, I would argue they have not caught up with Apple or Google over the IoS and Android platforms.  If I were a shareholder and noting that the PC software market was shrinking, I would be worried that the Big M is seemingly playing catch-up.

The latest chorus in the opera of disenchantment came in an Email from Microsoft announcing it was slashing its OneDrive free storage space from 25gb down to 5gb.  The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued for free accounts will also be slashed. To be fair it doesn’t really affect me as I have a premium 1tb account with Dropbox and only used OneDrive as a blog test bed, but if I were a regular user and I saw 20gb being hacked off my account I would not be too impressed.

So, why has this happened?

Overcommitted On Free Storage

The company states: “It was a difficult business decision that came with careful analysis and thought. However, these types of decisions are never easy. We overcommitted with our free storage limits and we want to focus on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of our users. If we continued with the current offerings, we wouldn’t be able to sustain our growth and deliver the reliable service that you count on. These changes were necessary to ensure that we can continue to offer a collaborative, connected, and intelligent service.”

My first question is that why did a company staffed by highly intelligent individuals, some of whom have the brain the size of a small planet – sadly not this one , make such a basic error in thinking offering 25gb free would not be abused?  There are plenty of examples where all you can eat storage has been crippled by people uploading their entire video and MP3 collection into the cloud.

So, what happens if you have the 25gb account when the cuts come in on August 10?

Microsoft explains:   “We will be actively communicating with our users as these changes start rolling out via email and in-product notifications. These notifications will start at least 90 days before the changes take effect to ensure that you have enough time to act or make changes.”

Claim 12 Months Free Terabyte

If you have a free OneDrive plan and will be over your storage quota as a result of these changes:

  • If you are a free user and have over 5 GB of content in your OneDrive, you will receive an email with an offer to claim a free 1-year subscription to Office 365 Personal*, which includes 1 TB of storage.
  • If you do not claim this offer, you will need to purchase additional storage or remove some of your files. Otherwise, 90 days after you receive your first notice, your account will become read-only.
  • If you are over quota after the 90 days, you will still have access to your files for 9 months. You can view and download them. However, you will not be able to add new content.
  • If after 9 months you are still over quota, your account will be locked. That means that you will not be able to access the content in your OneDrive until you take action.
  • If after 6 more months you fail to take action, your content may be deleted.

Interesting Microsoft Provisos

There are some interesting provisos in Microsoft’s approach.  First, if you don’t want to delete your data you can claim one year’s free 365 account worth £60 a year. Also, the company advises that if you haven’t deleted enough data to get below 5gb after nine months your content may be  deleted. Who is going to be brave enough to leave 20gb of content on OneDrive to call their bluff?

The cynic in me wonders if Microsoft offered the generous 25gb free account as a loss leader to tie people in and when knowingly, years down the line, start to kill off OneDrive and boost subscriptions into Office 365!

Whatever, I am happy that I used OneDrive as a blog test bed and I am not relying on it for my day to day basis. How many people, especially small businesses and the self employed, who have committed to OneDrive will feel they have been shafted and start looking for a service with more integrity?