OneDrive storage changes incoming - only 90 days notice for many over quota

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Blaming changes on a 'small number of users' taking advantage of the 'unlimited' cloud storage in Office 365, Microsoft is planning to scale back OneDrive storage options for 'early 2016'. There's (up to) a 12 month grace period for anyone affected by the reduction and few should be affected in the short term, though new Microsoft account users through next year will only see 5GB for free. See the quoted details and my comments below.

From the Microsoft blog post:

Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, 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.

Here are the changes:

  • We’re no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • 100 GB and 200 GB paid plans are going away as an option for new users and will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016.
  • Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.

We’re taking the following steps to make this transition as easy as possible for customers:

  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and have stored in excess of 1 TB, you will be notified of this change and will be able to keep your increased storage for at least 12 months.
  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and find that Office 365 no longer meets your needs, a pro-rated refund will be given. To learn more visit the FAQ.
  • If you are using more than 5 GB of free storage, you will continue to have access to all files for at least 12 months after these changes go into effect in early 2016. In addition, you can redeem a free one-year Office 365 Personal subscription (credit card required), which includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • Current customers of standalone OneDrive storage plans (such as a 100 or 200 GB plans) are not affected by these changes.

OneDrive has always been designed to be more than basic file storage and backup. These changes are needed to ensure that we can continue to deliver a collaborative, connected, and intelligent service. They will allow us to continue to innovate and make OneDrive the best option for people who want to be productive and do more.

The grace period is lower than a year for non-Office 365 users, importantly:

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

  • You will be notified and will have 90 days’ notice to take action before 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 and 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 1 year you fail to take action, your content may be deleted.

So it probably makes sense to review what you're using  OneDrive for, perhaps as a New Year's resolution? As a user of Office 365, I'm not affected in any way, but I thought a screenshot of my current allocations would help show how many AAWP readers' entitlements may have grown:

Storage allowments

So that initial 15GB will reduce to 5GB. There's no mention of what will happen to the 'Loyalty bonus' that many of us got as early adopters, so maybe that stays. The Camera roll bonus is being dropped but Microsoft's pages make no mention of what happens to people who have already been awarded this. 

Ditto the 'Bing' and 'Enthusiast' bonuses. OK, so perhaps I've overdosed on one too many Microsoft OneDrive offers! These are of limited duration anyway, so I'm guessing these stay in place until they expire.

There's some extra information can be found at the FAQ, though overall I find myself puzzled. If all of this was caused by some users abusing the 'unlimited' option (when everyone knew it was really 1TB), then why not just cap these miscreants at a Terabyte and be done with it? How on earth does inconveniencing the 99% who are not really causing any server problems help solve an easily-fixed problem caused by the other 1%?

Comments welcome - will any of this affect you? I realise that Microsoft needs to not lose too much money on Cloud storage and that $2 a month for 50GB extra isn't going to break anyone's wallets, but this set of storage tweaks seems liable to just cause bad feeling all round, not least from people who jumped on board the ecosystem under the 15GB-free deal. And right now, Microsoft needs all the friends and customers it can get.

Source / Credit: Microsoft