Last week Microsoft made a drastic change to OneDrive, one change I don't understand.
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 some users clearly over abuse the service. Seeing these behaviors Microsoft decided to backtrack on the unlimited storage and limit every paid users to 1TB. A drastic restriction, even if users will be able to keep their extra storage for 12 months. The problem is, if you used it legitimately and had 2TB of data, you're screwed. You will still be able to buy additional space, 50GB per 50GB, but nothing more.
Microsoft also decided to reduce free storage from 15GB to 5GB, nice move. This was one of the reason I moved from Dropbox to OneDrive. But what's fun, is Microsoft itself tells us that average users use 5.3GB of data, so in 12 months lots of free users will receive a really surprising email, and will have to pay to keep their data. Again, nice move. I'm really excited to explain to my Mom why she now have to pay, for something that was working well for her. The best part is I'm sure she will have been willing to pay once she reached its 15GB limit.
This kind of move means a lot. First, how can we still trust Microsoft as a cloud storage company? Second, this will hurt the Mobile First, Cloud First mantra of the new Microsoft.
We are more and more connected and we want to access to our data from everywhere in the world, how can we still trust Microsoft to help us reach that goal? Maybe new offers will appear later, maybe they will increase the free limit again later, but with what we know now, in 12 month lots of users won't be able to keep there data in OneDrive. It is clear to me that the idea behind this move is to make new users pay earlier, and convert existing users to paid plans, in this case you provide at least enough options to cover you user needs. The 100GB and 200GB plans would have done the work (maybe with the addition of a 500GB option), not a 50GB plan at the price of the 100GB one. Running a cloud storage service cost a lot, and it is sure that users with 75TB paying just 10€ per month won't be profitable. But most users used it the way it was meant to be, storing pictures, music (thanks to the Music Locker service), and trusted Microsoft to keep their data. I agree we don't talk about business grade availability of data, but I think most user thought of it as a reliable service and most of them (who are not all tech savvy) will just lose data and be angry at Microsoft.
They will be angry, because we forced them into the Mobile First, Cloud First idea. Microsoft wan't everybody to use Windows 10, (from a Surface, a Lumia or whatever device you prefer), on which OneDrive is the default cloud storage client installed, when you set up these devices, you use (or create) your Microsoft account and activate the OneDrive picture and video backup so easily you forget about it. Now imagine you're like me, I own a Lumia 925, I take a reasonable amount of pictures (a bit more since the birth of my son), it has 16GB of storage (with a good amount taken by the OS), and every 4 to 6 months I have to remove pictures from the phone internal storage, because I reached the limit, meaning every 4 to 6 months I have to remove around 9GB of pictures from my phone, and why do I do it without asking myself any questions? Because I know they are all backed up on OneDrive. I already use more than the current free tier storage (also because I store my music on it), so I'm not the perfect exemple, but I'm a good exemple of how easy it is to rely on these services. My wife also have a Lumia, with the free 15GB, in less than a year, taking far less picture than me, she almost used her free storage, next year she will have to pay not only to keep new pictures on OneDrive (which is normal since it goes over its free tier) but also to keep pictures she thought were stored forever for free. I think she will not be alone in this case, and I also think lots of these user won't be happy when they find out.
I really hope Microsoft will at least return to the 15GB free plan.