Microsoft harmed a lot of people last month when it announced plans to stopping unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 subscribers and downgrade the free limit from 15GB to just 5GB.So, on Friday, Microsoft apologized to these customers and announced it is changing its policy, again. It is giving them the chance to get their 15GB of free storage back.
Microsoft won’t back unlimited plans
Microsoft is not, however, going back to unlimited free storage. In fact, as Business Insider previously reported, months before Microsoft formally withdrew that promise, the company had been dragging its feet on honoring it.
When Microsoft formally announced it was backtracking, it blamed customer abuse, saying a few people were storing too much stuff in their unlimited OneDrive accounts.
“You’re an important part of what we do, and we want to make sure you know that,” Microsoft said in a note to OneDrive users. “That’s why we’re making it possible for you to keep your base storage quota and camera roll bonus, even after the changes roll out.”
But, listen up: If you want to keep your 15GB of free storage, you’ll need to claim it. Head over to this page and click the button to “Keep your free storage.” Then, when the free storage limit drops to 5GB, and the extra 15GB camera roll bonus is discontinued, your account won’t be affected. The offer is available until Jan. 31.
As Microsoft announced last month, Office 365 subscribers must now make do with 1TB of free space rather than unlimited storage, while 100GB and 200GB new-user paid plans are getting replaced with a 50GB option for $1.99 per month. Those who don’t claim their 15GB before the end of January will be downgraded to a 5GB limit.
Redmond last month blamed the sudden about-face on a few rotten apples spoiling the bunch. In a few rare cases, people “backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings” in OneDrive, taking up 75TB, or 14,000 times Microsoft’s average.
And the votes and comments were rolling in every since. On Thursday another user was frustrated by Microsoft’s apparent lack of response:
“Who finds it just unbelievable how this thread exploded with no response at all? It makes you wonder just what the hell is going on at Microsoft.”
A Microsoft spokesperson told Business Insider that the new change in storage policy is a direct response to that post that went crazy on UserVoice.
Microsoft is offering people on that forum a chance to sign up to get their 15GB of storage back, and to get back the additional 15GB of photo storage that Microsoft had at one point also promised people.
The spokesperson told us that anyone can request 15GB of storage through the sign-up page, although the announcement would be made on the UserVoice forum first.
The offer will be valid for a year, through January 31 2016, the spokesperson says.
Microsoft also reiterated that those Office 365 customers who were over the new storage cap when Microsoft changed its policy will not be charged for their excess storage for a year. Those using the free OneDrive service who exceeded 5GB can request a free one-year subscription to Office 365, which includes 1TB of storage.
So everyone gets a year to move their files, or to come to terms with paying Microsoft for the OneDrive service.
Here’s the full blog post:
In November we made a business decision to reduce storage limits for OneDrive. Since then, 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.
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.
While we are not changing our overall plans, we’d like to clarify what we are doing for customers impacted by the changes and share a new offer which we hope will go a long way in making the situation better for our biggest fans.
Office 365 Home, Personal, and University subscriptions will continue to include 1 TB of storage. Any subscriber who received additional storage as part of our unlimited offer will keep it for at least 12 months. For anyone unhappy with the decision to not offer unlimited storage, we will offer a full refund.
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. You can sign up to keep your storage at the link below.
We are all genuinely sorry for the frustration this decision has caused and for the way it was communicated. Thank you for sticking with us.
Not surprisingly, people weren’t pleased with the downgrade.
“You said unlimited MS,” one PCMag commenter wrote. “Someone took you up on what you offered and you are now slamming the door on everyone.”
For more, see PCMag’s review of Microsoft OneDrive, and check out 17 Tips to Help You Master Microsoft OneDrive in the slideshow above.