Microsoft apologizes for riling OneDrive users, restores some free storage …

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Microsoft Partially Takes Back Changes To OneDrive’s Storage Caps.

Microsoft has grudgingly agreed to let current OneDrive users keep their 15GB of free cloud storage and 15GB of free Camera Roll “bonus” storage, rather than dropping you to 5GB as previously stated, but only if you’re aware of the offer and don’t mind a bit of spam.

The new rules include refunds for unhappy customers, more storage for select free users, and in some cases, a free, one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal. Microsoft representatives said the company does not have a supplementary explanatory blog post or statement to add at the present, but they did supply the webpage address, whose URL lists it as a “preview” at the moment. You’ve already navigated the first hurdle: since users have to manually opt in to the offer, OneDrive users who are unaware of the deal won’t be able to take advantage of it.

Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage. […] Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. If you were paying for Office 365, you suddenly had unlimited storage, at no additional cost — a steal given that the cheapest Office 365 subscription costs $7.00 per month. And there’s a small catch: by selecting the offer, you agree “to receive promotional emails from OneDrive,” although Microsoft immediately says that you can unsubscribe as well—how to do that, however, isn’t exactly clear.

Ars Technica was blunt: “Microsoft drops unlimited OneDrive storage after people use it for unlimited storage.” Users, excited to have access to a strong free storage tier, and unlimited storage if they were paying Office 365 customers, were disappointed to see their plans change. Why this matters: Microsoft’s reputation has climbed of late, as it’s reached out and worked with customers on the development of Windows 10, Office, and even Solitaire. Microsoft blamed “a small number of users” that really took advantage of the “unlimited” option, even uploading in excess of 75TB, which was apparently “14,000 times the average.” Today, the company is apologizing for this: In November we made a business decision to reduce storage limits for OneDrive.

But what users were really unhappy with was Microsoft’s decision to also reduce the amount of free storage from 15GB to 5GB per account, as well as discontinuing the 15GB camera roll storage bonus for mobile users who uploaded their mobile photos to OneDrive. In November, Microsoft also said that it is also doing away with the 100GB and 200GB OneDrive paid plans priced at $1.99 and $3.99 per month respectively. There are three competing trends at play in all of this: The declining price of storage; the increasing clip at which we can, as users, accrete data; and competition in the storage market. Lower storage costs allow companies to offer more for less, but as users can now collect data in increasingly dense formats like 4K, we are all generating more data. Free OneDrive users whose accounts are using more than 5GB will receive an email with redemption information “early next year.” Again, that’s also when the downgrade to 5GB will occur.

I always have a hard time generating pity for companies with tens of billions in cash, but those reserves and future cash flows belong to shareholders, and so other concerns retain weight. Regardless, Microsoft, instead of announcing changes that might have been palatable, dropped the ban hammer on its own users and is now in repair mode. For example, why not downgrade those with unlimited storage down to 2TB instead of the 1TB they had before? “These types of decisions are never easy,” Douglas Pearce, product manager of SharePoint and OneDrive, told VentureBeat. “When we evaluated our storage offerings, it was clear that our previous model wasn’t sustainable over time and ultimately a bad decision on our part to offer unlimited.

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