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Microsoft Offers Concessions on OneDrive Storage Cutbacks

Microsoft is attempting to appease some users of its OneDrive storage services after getting negative reactions to planned changes for next year.

In November, Microsoft announced plans to roll back its unlimited storage plans for some Office 365 subscriptions. Office 365 Home, Personal and University subscribers would instead get 1TB of storage. The company also indicated it would reduce free consumer OneDrive storage accounts from 15GB to 5GB. A free 15GB camera roll storage allowance would be discontinued.

Those changes were planned for "early 2016" and were being adopted because some users were exceeding average storage capacities under the unlimited plans, Microsoft had indicated back then.

On Friday, Douglas Pearce, a Microsoft group program manager, offered an apology in a OneDrive "user voice" forum. "We realize the announcement came across as blaming customers for using our product," he said. The forum post showed more than 72,000 votes to "Give us back our storage."

In response, Microsoft made limited concessions this month, but just to consumer users of the free OneDrive service, and just for a limited time. Those OneDrive users that currently have the 15GB of free storage can keep it if they sign up by Jan. 31, 2016 at this Web page, which looks like this:

[Click on image for larger view.] Screenshot of OneDrive storage offer, good through Jan. 31, 2016. Source: Microsoft Web site.

In addition, those OneDrive users that already have the 15GB camera roll storage will be able to keep it, Pearce indicated.

Alternatively, users of the free OneDrive service can accept a free one-year Office 365 Personal subscription with 1TB of storage. However, this offer requires providing a credit card number to Microsoft, with the service subject to automatic renewal if not cancelled.

Office 365 Home, Personal and University subscribers aren't getting any breaks, though. Microsoft will switch those users from unlimited storage plan to 1TB of storage early next year. As noted in a Microsoft FAQ, subscribers will get a notice from Microsoft and will have some time to either move their accounts, delete files to make more room or add extra storage space by paying for it. They can also cancel the service and get a rebate for any unused time.

The 100-GB and 200-GB storage plans still will be going away. Instead, Microsoft will sell a 50-GB additional storage plan early next year.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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