Microsoft Bundles Bottomless Cloud Storage With Office 365

The cloud storage wars have come to this. Microsoft is sweetening the deal for Office 365 customers by offering unlimited OneDrive storage.

cloud storage

Customers of Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-enabled productivity software suite, soon won't have to worry about brushing up against their OneDrive storage limits.

Microsoft announced in an Oct. 27 blog post that the company had begun rolling out unlimited OneDrive cloud storage to Office 365 Home, Personal and University plans. In June, the company bumped the per-user limit to 1TB from 20GB. Free accounts are entitled to 15GB of storage.

Corporate customers will have to wait a bit longer for their OneDrive limits to lift.

"For OneDrive for Business customers, unlimited storage will be listed on the Office 365 roadmap in the coming days and we will begin updating the First Release customers in 2015, aligned with our promise to provide ample notification for significant service changes," wrote Chris Jones, corporate vice president of Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint. Microsoft launched the Office 365 for Business Public Roadmap in June as a way to give customers guidance on what's in store for the company's productivity software and services platform.

This summer, Microsoft and Los Altos, Calif.-based cloud storage provider Box floated a similar offer. Joint customers can now enjoy unlimited Box storage for the price of a stand-alone Office 365 plan.

OneDrive provides file share and sync services for Office 365, Windows PCs, Macs and mobile devices. It also serves as a backup target for PCs, a cloud-based safety net of sorts.

Offering unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 customers may help spell the end of one-upmanship in a price war waged by cloud storage providers.

Google Drive slashed prices in March, offering users 100GB for $1.99 per month. "Today, thanks to a number of recent infrastructure improvements, we're able to make it more affordable for you to keep everything safe and easy to reach on any device, from anywhere," blogged Scott Johnston, director of product management for Google Drive, at the time.

The company's Google Drive for Business product already includes unlimited storage for $10 per user per month. Effectively, Microsoft is offering unlimited storage for as low as $6.99 per month (paid annually) with an Office 365 Personal plan.

For Microsoft, cloud storage isn't just an add-on, it's an integral part of the Office experience, asserted Jones. "While unlimited storage is another important milestone for OneDrive we believe the true value of cloud storage is only realized when it is tightly integrated with the tools people use to communicate, create, and collaborate, both personally and professionally," he said.

OneDrive also represents a pillar of Microsoft's strategy of providing "one" cloud service platform that spans a user's work and personal lives, while keeping IT administrators happy. Jones described unlimited OneDrive storage as "just one small part of our broader promise to deliver a single experience across work and life that helps people store, sync, share, and collaborate on all the files that are important to them, all while meeting the security and compliance needs of even the most stringent organizations."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...