Microsoft Offers Mea Culpa in OneDrive Unlimited Storage Flap

Under Microsoft's new Office 365 cloud storage strategy, not all business customers will get unlimited space for their files after all.


Unlimited cloud storage continues to be a thorn in Microsoft's side.

Last month, Microsoft announced that it would stop offering unlimited OneDrive cloud storage to customers with Office 365 consumer and University plans. The company claimed at the time that a few bad apples were backing up multiple PCs and storing movie collections on the service, some keeping in excess of 75TB of data in the cloud.

Now, Microsoft is voicing its regret for not being able to deliver the perk to all corporate customers.

"Overall, we have taken too long to provide an update on our storage plans around OneDrive for Business," said Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for OneDrive and SharePoint, in a Dec. 16 announcement. "We also recognize we are disappointing customers who expected unlimited storage across every Office 365 plan, and I want to apologize for not meeting your expectations. We are committed to earning your business every day by delivering a great productivity and collaboration service and improving our communication approach."

The Redmond, Wash., tech behemoth is reserving unlimited OneDrive storage for its "premium" Office 365 customers, according to Teper.

Those customers include organizations with the following plans: Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4 and E5; Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4 and E5; Office 365 Education; OneDrive for Business Plan 2; and SharePoint Online Plan 2. By March 2016, those customers will see their per-user limits raised from 1TB to 5TB. Customers can request more storage by contacting Microsoft support.

Teper added that customers that subscribe to "all other Office 365 Enterprise, Business and standalone plans that include OneDrive for Business will continue to receive 1 TB of storage per user." Although it falls well short of unlimited, it should prove sufficient for the "vast majority" of Microsoft's users. "Today, most OneDrive for Business users consume significantly less than 1 TB."

In a related development, Microsoft announced that its OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is out of beta and generally available. The software is available for Windows 7 and 8 and Mac OS X 10.9 and above. A version for Windows 8.1 is planned for the first quarter of 2016.

"Our top priorities for this release were improved reliability and performance, as well as delivering core capabilities such as selective sync, support for large files up to 10 GB in size and removing the 20,000 file sync limit," stated Teper. "For IT Professionals, we've provided the ability to silently deploy and configure the client on behalf of your end users."

Already available on the OneDrive for Android app, the iOS version gains offline storage (Windows 10 Mobile will get the feature in the second quarter of 2016). Separately, the Office Lens mobile scanner app for iOS has been updated to support direct uploads to OneDrive for Business (also coming to Android and Windows 10 Mobile early next year).

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...