Microsoft softens cuts to OneDrive cloud storage
All Microsoft OneDrive users who received the free 15 GB camera roll storage bonus and would like to keep it (not to mention their base 15 GB limit), have until January 31 to opt-in at the new OneDrive bonus page in order to exempt their accounts from upcoming storage cuts.
OneDrive users tell Microsoft to “cut it out”
On November 2, the OneDrive blog announced Microsoft’s plans to severely reduce the maximum size of accounts on its popular OneDrive cloud storage service.
As of the January 31, 2016, the unlimited OneDrive storage previously offered to Office 365 subscribers is to be capped at 1 TB, and the 100 GB and 200 GB option for new paying Onedrive users will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for USD$1.99 per month.
Microsoft announced that it will also be discontinuing and rescinding the 15 GB camera roll storage bonus that it began offering in September of 2014 to users who synced the camera roll of an Android device to OneDrive.
And the maximum size of all new and existing free OneDrive storage accounts will decrease from 15 GB down to 5 GB.
OneDrive users complained about these sudden sharp cuts so loudly and in such quantity that Microsoft came out yesterday (December 11) and conceded that perhaps they may have been a bit heavy-handed.
In reply to a December 2 post on the OneDrive forum, titled “Give us back our storage“, Microsoft’s Douglas Pearce wrote:
“…the announcement came across as blaming customers for using our product. For this, we are truly sorry and would like to apologize to the community”.
Pearce went on to re-elaborate the reduce of storage limits, adding how Microsoft was prepared to soften the blow:
Office 365 users had a full year to remove files over and above the new 1 TB limit and could claim a full refund if they were still unhappy.
For free users with content over the new 5 GB limit, Microsoft would email them, early in 2016, with an offer of one free year of Office 365 Personal, which includes 1 TB of storage.
Pearce concluded his reply with the opt-in allowing free users to apparently keep up to 30 GB of their existing storage:
“In addition, for our biggest fans who have been loyal advocates for OneDrive, we are adding a new offer that lets you keep your existing 15 GB of free storage when the changes happen next year. If you also have the 15 GB camera roll bonus, you’ll be able to keep that as well. From now until the end of January, you can sign up to keep your storage at the link below.
We are all genuinely sorry for the frustration this decision has caused and for the way it was communicated. Thank you for sticking with us.”
The caveats, by the way, are that users must do the opt-in by January 31, 2016. Of course, a Microsoft account is required and the offer is limited to one per person/account.
In 24 hours, Pearce’s reply had elicited 4224 comments — many along the lines of “don’t take back what you already gave to us”.
Cuts to the heart of the trust in Microsoft
I should say that I enjoy 35 GB of free storage on OneDrive and I would like to keep it that way if possible.
That self-interest aside, I believe that Microsoft can run it’s affairs as it sees fit and I feel that we free users of OneDrive are arguably getting what we’re paying for whether we’re getting 5 or 50 GB of cloud storage.
The cuts to paid accounts are, by far, the most troubling parts of Microsoft’s decision but it’s also true that Microsoft’s plain willingness to take away freely given storage, like it never existed, plays to the worst fears that almost everyone has about commercial cloud storage.
Even if we can’t imagine what’s actually going on inside them, our laptops and our external hard drives and flash drives and DVDs are things that we can hold in our hands.
Cloud storage is just that one step too far removed from reality to be trusted by many, many computer users.
It’s fair to say, I think, that many people who wouldn’t otherwise go near the Cloud have been willing to take a chance on OneDrive because Microsoft is seen as a reassuring rock of stability.
Who knows about some little cloud storage start-up, right? Could go bust in a year. But Microsoft is too big to fail; it supports things forever — it would certainly never pull the rug out from under its users.
Except that in November Microsoft did pull very hard on that rug.
That fact should remind us all of two things: that the Cloud isn’t made of anything that we can hold in our hands and relying overmuch on any company’s cloud storage can easily leave us empty-handed. Click the image to enlarge it.