Microsoft, Box Offer Unlimited Storage for Office 365 Users
Common business customers now will get unlimited cloud storage for the price of subscribing to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud service.It's been well-chronicled lately that Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft have all been lowering their rates for online storage in a clear-cut price war. While it should be made clear that some levels of its service have increased in cost, AWS has lowered its entry-level storage rates an astounding 43 times in eight years. Besides the notion that perhaps the pricing was too high for starters back in 2006, now there's a new wrinkle in all of this. Box and Microsoft said July 15 that they are now offering common business customers unlimited cloud storage for the price of subscribing to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud service. The pricing ranges from $5 to $15 per user/month for small, medium and mid-size businesses. For Box users who are paying $15 a month for a mere 1TB of storage—a deal that is no more—the sky's now the limit. Now they can get Office 365 and the unlimited storage for the same price. An interesting side angle to this is that Box already has Google's productivity tools on board, including rival Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Box, in fact, already had an unlimited storage plan for current customers that cost $35 a month; those folks now will undoubtedly opt for the new, lower-cost plan. Future Box customers will need to buy the Office 365 cloud service to get the unlimited cloud storage.
While it is still the world's dominant provider of PC operating systems and workplace software applications, Microsoft famously has attempted to gain similar success in other lines of business for years. The company has experienced widely varying degrees of success in businesses such as video game hardware, smartphones, containerized data centers, automobile connectivity and cloud services, among others. Company Has Bought Plenty of Capacity for Cloud In the data center sector, the Redmond, Wash.-based company has invested a huge amount of capital in its Windows Azure cloud system in a concerted attempt to catch up with the runaway success of another Pacific Northwest company, Amazon. In fact, eWEEK learned through a Microsoft insider that the company has bought enough extra cloud-related data center hardware to cover 17 football fields—or 979,200 square feet. If each server or array takes up a footprint of three square feet, we're talking about more than 326,000 devices. Microsoft needs to start firing up all those servers and arrays for new customers, but this is extremely hard to do with Amazon so far out in front in cloud services. According to IT researcher Gartner, Amazon's stranglehold on the Web services market is such that its cloud computing service, AWS, has sold more than five times the combined capacity of the next 14 competitors, including Microsoft.