by Bill Snyder

Microsoft backtracks, returns free OneDrive storage

Dec 11, 2015
Consumer Electronics

Microsoft last month slashed free OneDrive storage and made a number of unwelcome tweaks to paid plans, but thousands of consumer complaints inspired the company to reverse some — though not all — of the changes.

Microsoft, a company that says it is sorry about as often as Donald Trump, today apologized for its recent high-handed reduction of free OneDrive storage, and bumped the free limit back to its original level of 15GB, up from the 5GB it had offered.

If you’re a current customer, you need to opt-in on Microsoft’s website before the end of January or you won’t get the free 15GB of storage. A link on the OneDrive page also lets existing users retain the 15GB camera roll bonus for photo storage. (The offer does not apply to new users.)

OneDrive users spoke, Microsoft listened

Microsoft backtracked after it was hit with a wave of bad press, and more significantly, a storm of protest from consumers, who posted more than 70,000 complaints on the OneDrive user forum. Douglas Pearce, a Microsoft program manager, delivered the apology Friday:

“We’ve heard clearly from our Windows and OneDrive fans about the frustration and disappointment we have caused. We realize the announcement came across as blaming customers for using our product. For this, we are truly sorry and would like to apologize to the community.”

onedrive petition

OneDrive users kicked off a petition on asking Microsoft to reconsider the slashing of free storage space by 83 percent

However, not all of the recent changes were reversed. “Unlimited” storage plans will still be cut to 1TB next year, but there’s a 12-month grace period for people with more than 1TB of data in their accounts. After that year, Microsoft will lock and eventually delete the accounts of users who fail to heed warnings about the quota, and who do not pay for extra storage.

Some of the people most affected by the reduction in overall storage space are likely Office 365 subscribers. If they’re unhappy with the new policy, they can request refunds, according to Pearce. 

OneDrive not the only cloud storage option

For what it’s worth, Microsoft appears to be legitimately contrite: “We are all genuinely sorry for the frustration this decision has caused and for the way it was communicated,” wrote Pearce.

If the apology isn’t enough for you, here are some other options from Microsoft competitors, along with pricing details:

  • Google Drive users get 15GB of free storage; 100GB costs $2 a month; 1TB goes for $10 a month; and 10TB cost $100 monthly.
  • Apple iCloud users get 5GB of free space; 50GB costs $1 a month; 200GB goes for $3 per month; and 1TB costs $10 monthly.
  • Amazon Cloud Drive users get unlimited photo storage and 5GB for other files, for $12 a year; and “unlimited everything” storage costs $60 a year.