Microsoft shrinks OneDrive for Office 365 customers

The company blames misuse of the cloud storage by some users

Microsoft is ending its unlimited OneDrive cloud storage plan and will put a cap of 1TB on storage for Office 365 consumers.

The company said its earlier unlimited storage offer had been misused by a few users of its Office 365 Home, Personal or University application, who backed up "numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings," amounting at times to 75TB per user or 14,000 times the average, the OneDrive Team said in a blog post late Monday.

"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," according to the blog post.

Microsoft announced in October last year that its Office 365 subscribers, both consumer and business, would get unlimited OneDrive storage, which put its offer on par with some rivals and ahead of others.

The company is soon replacing its 100GB and 200GB paid plans for new users on OneDrive with a 50GB plan for US$1.99 per month that will be available in early 2016. Free OneDrive storage is also being scaled down to 5GB from 15GB for current and new users. A 15GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued.

Most changes will start rolling out in early 2016, Microsoft said. The 1TB limit on Office 365 users comes into effect immediately.

To make the transition smooth for users, Microsoft said it will let Office 365 consumer subscribers, who have stored more than 1TB on the online storage service, to continue doing so for at least 12 months. After that period, the account becomes read-only, with user access to the files for at least six months, according to an FAQ. Consumers that are not satisfied by the new storage plan can opt out of Office 365 and receive a pro-rata refund.

Likewise, users that have consumed more than 5GB of free storage on OneDrive will have access to all files for at least 12 months after the changes go into effect in early 2016, Microsoft said.

In addition, users can redeem a free one-year Office 365 Personal subscription, for which a credit card is required, which includes 1TB of OneDrive storage. Current customers of standalone OneDrive storage plans, such as a 100 or 200GB plans, are not affected by the changes.

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