OneDrive went from promising to pathetic in one day flat

It's been quite a weird day.  After all one would never expect that cloud-first CEO Satya Nadella would basically kill everything good that his cloud storage platform OneDrive had going for it.

But let us rewind and recap on the bad news.

Perhaps inspired by the relatively warm reception of its (free) (to most) consumer OS upgrade, Windows 10, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) today quietly announced a sweeping set of changes to OneDrive, it's cloud storage platform, which general mean higher prices and an end to coveted "unlimited" storage accounts.


Yea, ya know... it replaced SkyDrive.  It's cloud storage like Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iCloud, Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Drive, and third party offerings like Box, Dropbox, etc.

OneDrive Logo


Well, where this seems very short-sighted and more than a little cash-grabby is in the fact that Windows 10 and Office 2016 are integrating OneDrive much more tightly.  So while it'd be nice to be able to escape it, Windows remains relatively ubiquitous and increasingly where Windows goes OneDrive goes.

About the only logical story line here is that Microsoft is trying to herd users into its $7 USD/month Office 365 plan.  But it's doing so with a whole lot of stick and not much carrot.  My guess -- most will move to third party services.

But let's look at the changes that are rolling down the pipe.



...will get you 5 GB (before it got you 15 GB).

$1.99 USD/month...

...will now only buy you 50 GB of One Drive cloud storage per month (before it was 100 GB).


100 and 200 GB plans...

...will be phased out fully by early 2016.  Offered at times for $3.99 USD/month to pull in new users Microsoft had deemed less choices is more and has hence opted to phase out the intermediate tiers ... supposedly for good.  Users will have to pick from the free offering (slashed to a third its former size), the $2/month bin (slashed in half) or a $7 USD/month fee for a 1 TB offering.

Existing 100 and 200 GB/month customers...

...will hang tight unless they cancel their plans.  Microsoft writes:

Current customers of standalone OneDrive storage plans (such as a 100 or 200 GB plans) are not affected by these changes.

Again... one more time... the plan is going away for new customers, but there's a grandfather clause of sorts for existing ones.

OneDrive Iceberg
Market research firm Gartner Inc. (IT) sort of called this one with its "iceberg" graphic...

If you store greater than 5 GB on the free account (formerly 15 GB)...

... you will be given some notifications at the 90 day mark... and then a 9 month grace window to shuffle their data offline or to pay for a much pricier bin.  From there things get more ominous.  Microsoft writes in a FAQ:

If after 9 months and you are still over quota, your account will be locked. That means that you will not be able to access the content in your OneDrive until you take action.

The only big big silver lining here is for free users with filled up accounts.  Microsoft will offer you a free 1 year subscription to Office 365 (w/ 1 TB of storage) if you have >5 GB on your OneDrive.  But if you don't it's probably too later as for now.

For that meet the cutoff the prize is worth roughly $84 USD ($7x12 months)... but you'll still have to pay up or offload your data at the end of that 1-2 year grace period.

Office 365 cloud

$7 will buy you...

...Office 365 w/ 1 TB of storage.  Microsoft was formally planning to push out "unlimited" storage to everyone at this tier ... or so it says.  But almost as soon as the unlimited giveaway began activating for the first few users it's been scrapped.  Microsoft offers up the following excuse du jour:

Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average. Instead of focusing on extreme backup scenarios, we want to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users.

So basically Microsoft says you don't deserve free storage because someone out there was treating its cloud like a personal playground.  It's believable, but it's also pretty lousy for Microsoft to react this way.  Why not simply throttle "free" like T-Mobile U.S., Inc. (TMUS).  That'd be better than killing it altogether, right?  Microsoft apparently doesn't think so.

One Drive
Well... okay things.

If you have > 1 TB....

... you have 12 months to get your data cache off OneDrive.  While Microsoft is giving "pro-rated refunds" to Office 365 customers irked at no longer having access to free storage, it's thus far refusing to back down from its ultimatum of killing unlimited.  For users that want to store more than 1 TB there's no clear future on Microsoft's OneDrive looking ahead.

If you have a Windows Phone...

... you no longer will receive the 15 GB "Camera Roll" bonus.  Honestly, this is perhaps the crumbiest change of them all.  After all Microsoft is still struggling to stay relevant in the phone market.  The least it could do is toss a bit of a bone to its phone users.

Well apparently not.

OneDrive Phone
[Image Source: Nokia Revolution]

Bing Storage Perks...

May be dying too, from what I've heard.  Officially Microsoft left their fate untold.  But it's not looking good.  Let's say you're not going to be getting much free storage from Microsoft anymore.  Dropbox perks reportedly will stick around though.

But Why?

That question brings to mind one X-(Wo)man Jubilee who on the awesomely classic 90s "the animated series" (TAS) some scumbag Genoshan:

Jubilee: (tearful) Why do you hate us?!

Said Genoshan gives Jubilee the eyes and tells her straigtht up, here's why...

Genoshan:  Because you were born.

But really, why?  Corporate suicide?  This is an alienating, bonehead decision.  I'm afraid by the time Microsoft realizes what it's done, it will be too late for it to save face.

OneDrive cracked

Microsoft unleashes legion of unhelpful mods...

"Mohammed Yaseer"... "Sudheendra S"...  these are just a couple of the crowd of Microsoft forum moderator-cum-support engineer that have been spam posting in response to comments criticizing the change.

¤ Do they speak English?  

They sure don't give any contextual acknowledgements to suggest they actually read ... or are capable of reading the comments they're responding to.

¤ Are they even human?

They seem to post spam/canned posts repeating Microsoft's blog on the cuts.  So I'm not so sure these are some manner of softbot. Users are suggesting as much.  In reply to one seemingly extraneous response one user asks:

Is this an automated response?

Another user Nathan piles on:

Is this reply for real?
On top of the storage reduction their staff appear clueless. I was loyal to Microsoft (except for phones), not now

Of course the (possible) bot does not reply.

¤ Are they for real?

Again... not sure.  They have no profiles to suggest they're a real person.

¤ But they're helping right?

Nope, not really!  They're just gratingly repeating Microsoft's blog, even after other commenters have already posted and wrote similar details.  It's unclear whether these posts are just woefully haphazard or are some deliberate attempt to drive the protester crowd slowly insane with anger.

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) "suggestions" on Microsoft's friendly changes...

User "thoughts" and "feedback" on Microsoft Answers...

"Reaperman4711" -- "Swindled users who wish to keep onedrive"

I was swindled into onedrive with the promise of unlimited storage, but now that I have the service I am evaluating keeping it.  What kind of refund do I get for that year, and why are these refunds "pro-rated"?  Pro-rated to when?  Is it pro-rated to the amount of my service that I have left?  Since you've lied to me for a year, and I purchased soon after the announcement, that would be unacceptable.
What is microsoft going to do to keep me on onedrive?
Would you consider rolling the remaining unused family accounts on my family plan into mine?
Would you consider a partial refund and allow me to keep subscribed to your 1tb family plan?


MS has LIED about the amount of storage I got with One Drive and 365. Did MS actually think there would be no blowback... Convergence is key and if MS can't be competitive with storage I know other companies that are AND will fill my apps needs also. Your integrity is lost.

<foreign username> (Insider member) -- "About the most recent hot "storage capacity deduction"

Quick link:
My question is: I am a free user, who has 40GB in total, including free 15GB, 10GB loyalty storage, and 15GB camera roll bonus.
I have used over a half of total storage, while most of them are camera roll backup.
If this decision takes effect, does this mean I NEED to remove almost all my files stored in OneDrive?
If so, then I am really sorry but I plan to abandon OneDrive once and for all.

"Alexandre Ionescu" (re:)

So, if i understand this correctly, there are no plans of reintroducing the camera roll storage bonus in the future. I now have 100GB bing bonus, but when this will end i will be left with 5GB even for my photos. Basically, i don't see why i should stick with Microsoft...
Give me a good reason why i should pay 700€ for the lumia 950XL? Basically at the end of every month i have to go and free these 5GB of space from the cloud just because of "a small number of users " to quote the blog post. I can understand you limiting the unlimited space, but why punish free users? I know i'm not the only one, but i have a lot of microsoft products, from surface to office and lumia, the integration between them was awesome and all thanks to onedrive. I want to know why i should keep these products. I honestly see no good and valid reason at this point... 

"Brian Tillman" (MVP-Outlook/Insider) -- "OneDrive storage plans are changing significantly"

All or us who have enjoyed the better-than-average size of our free OneDrive storage are in for an awakening. Please read this: No more free 15GB camera roll, no more free 15GB normal storage (it will be reduced to 5GB). It appears that no one will be grandfathered in, either.
For those who subscribe to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University, the plans for providing unlimited OneDrive have been dropped. The max will be one TB.
The claim is that too many people abused the unlimited storage plans, so now we're all paying.

"TayoMoore" (re:)

I personally will not be renewing my subscription or my family and friends to whom I have recommended it.
Bad decision Microsoft, reverse it or you'll lose us all.

"yehuda lauer" -- "Onedrives shrinking storage."

Who can we as consumers send our complaints to (that will actually listen) about Onedrives remarkably anti consumer move of lowering the free storage from 30gb down to just 5gb?

"BobSim711" (re:)

I'm indescribably disappointed with MS for this decision.  It's seriously putting in question of me getting the Lumia 950XL as my next device as this is such a slap in the face.  Without question, if they go forward with reducing my storage to 5GB I will not be using OneDrive any more.  One Drive was one of the top reasons keeping me on the Windows Phone.  Currently using 16 GB of my 30 GB of free space, if forced to reduce to 5 GB, I will just go ahead and reduce it to 0 GB and stop carrying the MS flag as they will have finally killed off this MS loyalist.
I will likely get some Android device and utilize Amazon Cloud Drive with unlimited photo storage, since they don't support Windows Phone.  Brilliant move MS & One Drive team.
-Pissed Off (soon to be) Ex-Microsoft Loyalist

Well, I leave it at that. Or this... Boy... that Windows Phone gets me, especially.  And I don't even own a Windows Phone.  For Microsoft to cut a perk for this tiny userbase of loyalist is pretty much telling phone users Microsoft doesn't want your business.  Insulting customers for a lowly 15 GB?  That's just a punitive and despicable move.

Microsoft CEO
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claimed to be Mr. Cloud. [Image Source: VentureBeat]

And looking at OneDrive, basically it's died of cuts.  Now Microsoft isn't the only one to do this kind of thing., Inc. (AMZN) eliminated a free 5 GB storage plan early this year.  Still I would content this is far more different and bizarre as OneDrive is far more crucial to Microsoft's supposed vision... heck, it's supposed to be a cornerstone of the platform.

Well, it's official the hammer has come out and the cornerstone has been shattered.  OneDrive has been rendered sort of the AOL of the storage world.  Customers have been threatened to "meet the quota" or have their files locked.  Well, Microsoft, I'm guessing they won't be back.

Here's some alternatives:
  • Dropbox
    • unlimited storage for businesses ($15 USD/person)
    • 2 GB free plans with extra GB for courting users.
  • Amazon Cloud Storage
    • In spite of cuts Amazon might be better than OneDrive
    • Unlimited photo storage; 5 GB of video storage
      • Free to prime subscribers
      • Non-Prime users pay $1 USD/month
    • Unlimited storage, no type restrictions
      • $5 USD/month
  • Google Drive
    • Unlimited storage of photos < 16 megapixels
    • 15 GB free storage (incl. Gmail message space)
    • paid plans start at 100 GB for $1.99 USD/month
    • up to 30 TB for $300 USD/month
  • Apple iCloud
    • Free: 5 GB (+iPhone backup space)
    • 50 GB: $1 USD/month
    • 200 GB: $3 USD/month
    • 1 TB: $10 USD/month
  • Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)
    • 1 TB of email storage (incl. attachments)
    • 1 TB of storage on photo site Flickr

Ironically enough Apple recently moved to make iCloud storage bins somewhat larger and more affordable. That's right ... Microsoft just beat Apple in sticking it to the consumer and charging a lot for a little.  Let that one percolate for a bit.

There you go.  In the words of Microsoft -- "yay cloud."

Sources: OneDrive [blog], [FAQ]

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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