Microsoft is using free cloud storage as a carrot to attract more customers to sign up for its Office 365 subscription plans.
Back in April, Microsoft announced it was providing all OneDrive for Business customers with 1 terabyte (TB) of cloud storage per person for free. On June 23, Microsoft extended that offer to users of its consumer Office 365 plans — Office 365 Personal and Home — as well.
Microsoft officials announced the new OneDrive prices and caps in a blog post on June 23.
Office 365 Home users, paying $9.99 per month, will get 1 TB per person for up to five people. Office 365 Personal subscribers, paying $6.99 a month, will get 1 TB per subscription, as will Office 365 University, who pay $79.99 for four years.
All Office 365 customers — Home, Personal, University and business — will get their 1 TB of free storage by next month. Current OneDrive and/or Office 365 subscribers don't need to do anything to get the additional storage or pricing deals, as Microsoft will automatically make the adjustments next month.
Microsoft also announced other storage pricing moves on June 23, designed to make Microsoft more competitive against other cloud-storage providers, especially Google, which cut its consumer-storage pricing a couple months ago. Microsoft execs are touting as Redmond's differentiators the fact that OneDrive storage doesn't have to be carved up among different apps, and that users don't have to jump through a bunch of hoops, such as convincing friends to sign up for OneDrive, in order to get the 1 TB of free storage.
For OneDrive users who aren't Office 365 subscribers, OneDrive now will come with 15 GB of storage for free, up from 7 GB. (Microsoft came up with the 15 GB figure based on its own telemetry data, officials said, which indicates that three out of four people have less than 15 GB of files stored on their PCs.)
Microsoft also is offering users without Office 365 subscriptions monthly subscription storage options for reduced rates. Users can get 100GB of storage for $1.99 for 100 GB (previously available at $7.49 per month) and $3.99 for 200 GB (previously $11.49 per month).
Users can store photos, videos and/or documents in OneDrive. Everything that is stored there is saved in Azure blob storage. I asked Microsoft execs whether Amazon's recent announcement that it will provide free, unlimited photo storage for all Fire phone users will lead Microsoft to offer a similar deal and was told by a spokesperson the Amazon announcement has no impact on Microsoft's cloud-storage plans.