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Microsoft emails Office 365 users, only a year of unlimited OneDrive storage remains

Microsoft reminded Office 365 subscribers today in an email that there is one one year left on the clock for their unlimited OneDrive cloud storage. One year from now, subscriptions will revert to the original 1 TB limit.

The Office 365 Team’s email lets users know if their OneDrive account is currently over the future 1 TB limit, and ways to take action if it is. The Team also apologizes for any inconvenience and offers a full refund if the new OneDrive plans do not meet your needs. The email further states it was a difficult decision to reinstate the 1 TB cap, but that doing so was necessary for OneDrive to operate sustainably into the future.

OneDrive reminder email

Email reminding Office 365 users that their OneDrive storage will be capped at 1TB.

Previously, Microsoft had blamed bad apples abusing the unlimited storage option as the reason for the changes. But users were upset as reducing free plans in addition to unlimited plans made it seem like Microsoft was erroneously punishing normal users for the actions of a few who were taking the unlimited storage offer very literally. Uservoice and petition websites lit up with unhappy subscribers in response.

Perhaps Microsoft should have kept the messaging simpler as in today’s email. Instead of placing blame, just honestly saying that all this free storage is unsustainable for their quickly growing cloud business. There would have been backlash, but maybe less if Microsoft was a little more direct and didn’t obfuscate with some kind of accusatory reasoning.

As a result of the uproar, Microsoft did give users the option to reclaim the current 15GB free plan so it would remain in place after the changes take effect. But the deadline to opt-in for holding onto your free 15GB has come and gone, and today’s email reminder is just one of the later parts of the plans being put into final effect. As a reminder, here is what Microsoft announced last November:

Here are the changes:

  • We’re no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • 100 GB and 200 GB paid plans are going away as an option for new users and will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016.
  • Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.

We’re taking the following steps to make this transition as easy as possible for customers:

  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and have stored in excess of 1 TB, you will be notified of this change and will be able to keep your increased storage for at least 12 months.
  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and find that Office 365 no longer meets your needs, a pro-rated refund will be given. Click here to learn more.
  • If you are using more than 5 GB of free storage, you will continue to have access to all files for at least 12 months after these changes go into effect in early 2016. In addition, you can redeem a free one-year Office 365 Personal subscription (credit card required), which includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • Current customers of standalone OneDrive storage plans (such as a 100 or 200 GB plans) are not affected by these changes.

There are a number of other clouds storage options that compete with OneDrive, and Microsoft is even partnering with some of them with their Office 365 apps. How do you feel that Microsoft has handled the situation now that a few months have passed? Let us know in the comments.

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How should Microsoft have handled the OneDrive debacle?