Microsoft is on a cloud storage binge.
Mere days after Microsoft more than tripled the storage capacity on default SkyDrive Pro accounts, the company announced that its cloud-based Exchange Online email service was following suit with an increase of its own. Businesses that have settled on Office 365 can now offer their users roomier inboxes to accommodate more email and attachments.
"The size of user mailboxes in all Exchange Online and Office 365 service plans is doubling. Beginning today, the current 25GB of mailbox storage is increasing to 50GB," Stephen Brown, Microsoft Exchange product marketing manager, wrote in an Aug. 30 Office 365 Technology blog post.
The free upgrade is currently being rolled out, but some users may wait months before they notice the change. "The increase starts rolling out to customers today and continues through November," added Brown.
Office 365 and stand-alone Exchange Online plans are subject to the new 50GB primary inbox size limit, with the exception of the "Kiosk" editions, which are being upgraded to 2GB, up from 1GB. Collaborative workspaces are also getting swept up in the cloud storage windfall.
"Shared mailboxes and Resources mailboxes are both increasing to 10GB (more than doubling), so you'll have plenty of room to store everything you need for your projects and collaborations," stated Brown.
Earlier this week, Microsoft increased the default SkyDrive Pro storage limit—the Office 365 cloud storage component—from 7GB to 25GB. Given that they are already backed by 20GB of (non-Pro) SkyDrive storage, Office 365 Home Premium subscribers won't see an increase. Spelling out the distinction between the two services, SkyDrive Pro "is based on SharePoint, enterprise-grade content management," Mark Kashman and Tejas Mehta, marketing senior product managers for Microsoft SharePoint, explained in a separate blog post.
The increases arrive at a time when the business cloud storage market is growing more competitive. Box, a Los Altos, Calif.-based online file storage and collaboration company, on Aug. 21 announced a new low-cost cloud storage plan aimed at small businesses.
For $5 per month per user, organizations can offer their employees 100GB of storage that can be accessed wherever they roam. "Whether you're a global corporation, a small business or a freelancer, the key to competing is being able to securely share, manage and access your content anywhere, on any device," Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie said in company remarks.
Storage increases aren't the only incentives Microsoft is using to lure enterprises onto its cloud.
On July 8, during the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, the company took the wraps off a new Windows Intune offer. "Effective Oct. 1," said Satya Nadella, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, the promotion "will help connect partners and customers with the latest in cloud connected management at a 30 percent discount." The program, along with others that made their debut at WPC, was "designed to help our partners realize the opportunities in cloud computing—today," he added.