Cloud storage options for consumers were made available commercially a couple of years ago. It all started with companies like Dropbox. The cloud service was innovative and it quickly caught up to customers. The best part of the service was that it was offered for free with a limited storage option of 1GB. Successful referrals earned additional storage. There were paid options as well if the user wanted higher storage. As Dropbox became successful, other big players such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. joined the fray. Google launched its cloud storage option called ‘Google Drive’. It had an edge over Dropbox as it was also made available in Gmail, the mail transfer agent of Google. Consumers could easily save documents, pictures and videos from their mails to Google Drive. Microsoft launched a cloud storage option called Sky Drive which was later renamed to One Drive for its users. One Drive had a competitive pricing strategy and was giving tough competition to its rivals. However, all that has changed now.
Microsoft recently announced that it no longer plans to offer unlimited storage for Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers; instead, those people now get 1TB of storage for their money. Starting in 2016, Microsoft will replace its $2-a-month 100GB and $4-a-month 200GB plans for new users on OneDrive with a 50GB plan that costs $2 per month, according to a company blog post that announced the changes.
The reason for the price hike according to the company is “a small number of users” who apparently used up to 75TB on the Office 365 unlimited plan. Free OneDrive storage is being scaled down from 15GB to 5GB for current and new users. The company’s 15GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued.
Microsoft’s cloud rivals will see this move as an opportunity to make their cloud service even more affordable and attract Microsoft’s users over to them. The pricing options of some of the main providers are highlighted below:
Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage; 100 GB costs $2 a month; a 1TB goes for $10 a month; and 10TB cost $100 monthly.
Apple iCloud includes 5GB of free space; 50GB goes for $1 a month; 200GB costs $3; and 1TB goes for $10 monthly.
Amazon Cloud Drive includes unlimited photo storage, plus 5GB for videos and files, for $12 a year; and “unlimited everything” costs $60 a year.
Users are unhappy and have vehemently opposed this move by Microsoft. They have taken to the official OneDrive feedback site to register their ire and discontent, with an appeal to “give us back our free storage” attracting more than 5,000 votes and 250 comments in one day.