Microsoft is more than doubling the amount of free cloud storage for OneDrive users, from 7GB to 15GB.
OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) is Microsoft's answer to services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Apple's iCloud. Following a court battle in the United Kingdom, the company changed the service's name to OneDrive in February.
Why 15GB? OneDrive Program Manager Omar Shahine spelled out his group's rationale by explaining that "3 out of 4 people have less than 15 GB of files stored on their PC," according to data collected by Microsoft. "Factoring in what they may also have stored on other devices, we believe providing 15 GB for free right out of the gate—with no hoops to jump through—will make it much easier for people to have their documents, videos, and photos available in one place," he concluded in a statement.
In effect, the move brings Microsoft and Google neck-and-neck in the cloud storage wars. Google Drive also offers 15GB of free cloud storage.
OneDrive plans are also being overhauled. For paid users, "we will also still provide monthly subscription storage options—at dramatically reduced rates." The rates represent a 70 percent price cut. "The new monthly prices will be $1.99 for 100 GB (previously $7.49) and $3.99 for 200 GB (previously $11.49)," said Shahine.
"All of these updates will take effect in the next month," informed Shahine. Current subscribers' plans will automatically reflect the new rates.
As teased in the newly public Office 365 for Business roadmap, Office 365 customers will soon be entitled to 1TB of OneDrive storage as part of their subscription. The change affects not only business customers, but also users of the company's consumer plans.
Jevon Fark, a Microsoft Office marketing manager, said Microsoft is "increasing the OneDrive storage allotment included with Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, and Office 365 University from 20 GB to 1 TB," in a June 23 blog post. In practical terms, the upgrade represents "a whopping 50 times, or 5,000 percent increase in storage," he said.
After the upgrade, Office 365 Personal and University subscribers will get 1TB of storage for a single user. Office 365 Home users get 1TB each, up to a maximum of five users.
Microsoft is also putting a novel spin on Office 365's value proposition. Noting that "other cloud storage providers charge more than $100 a year for the same amount of online storage," Fark said his company provides "a full productivity suite too" with plans that start at $6.99 per month.
Microsoft plans to tack on the new storage in July. "You should not be concerned about current files that are stored in OneDrive as they will not be affected by this change," assured Fark.