Microsoft claimed it is “genuinely sorry” for slashing the amount of your OneDrive storage. The company has decided you can keep your 15GB of free OneDrive storage and 15GB of camera roll “bonus” storage, but that extra cloud storage doesn’t happen by default – you must manually opt-in by January 31, 2016. Microsoft is not so repentant that it will restore its previous 'unlimited' OneDrive storage plan.
In November, Microsoft reneged on its previous OneDrive storage promises by slashing free OneDrive storage from 15GB to 5GB and capping the Office 365 unlimited OneDrive cloud storage plan at 1TB. The company complained:
“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.”
While that rifling through OneDrive riled up some privacy advocates, Microsoft’s decision was met by massive backlash from consumers. “Give us back our storage,” written in November on a OneDrive UserVoice page, received 72,455 votes before OneDrive Group Program Manager Douglas Pearce replied and “closed” the topic.
Pearce claimed Microsoft is sorry about the “frustration and disappointment” the reduction in storage limits 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.”
Although Microsoft is not changing its overall business plan, the company is attempting to appease its “biggest fans” with a new offer. Pearce explained:
For customers of our free service who have over 5 GB of content and who are directly impacted by the storage change, we will offer one free year of Office 365 Personal, which includes 1 TB of storage. These customers will receive an email with redemption information early next year.
In addition, for our biggest fans who have been loyal advocates for OneDrive, we are adding a new offer that lets you keep your existing 15 GB of free storage when the changes happen next year. If you also have the 15 GB camera roll bonus, you’ll be able to keep that as well. From now until the end of January, you can sign up to keep your storage at the link below.
Clicking on the provided link takes you to the OneDrive bonus page where users must opt-in if they want to keep their 15GB of free cloud storage and the 15GB of camera roll storage.
“Offer must be redeemed by January 31, 2016,” reads the small print at the bottom of the page. It also includes reminders that the Microsoft Services Agreement applies to OneDrive and that “Microsoft reserves the right to modify or discontinue the offer at any time.”
After opting in by selecting “keep your free storage” and signing into your Microsoft account, you must agree to the OneDrive app permissions. Access granted to Microsoft by using its OneDrive app includes signing you into the app automatically when you sign into your Microsoft account, as well giving OneDrive access to your profile info, such as name, gender, picture icon, contacts, friends, and email addresses used in your profile. You also agree for the “bonus” OneDrive storage limit to be added to your account, as well as to granting Microsoft permission “to remove this storage (but no other storage), at any point in time.”
Agreeing will then show a message that “your account will not be affected by the upcoming storage changes.”
Regarding the OneDrive app permissions, which you can change “at any time in your account settings,” it’s not granular. When you go to your account settings you can't pick and choose, as your options are either to accept all or get rid of the OneDrive app.
Pearce also addressed Office 365 Home, Personal, and University subscribers who signed up for unlimited OneDrive storage. “Any subscriber who received additional storage as part of our unlimited offer will keep it for at least 12 months,” Pearce promised. “For anyone unhappy with the decision to not offer unlimited storage, we will offer a full refund.”