back to article At Microsoft 'unlimited cloud storage' really means one terabyte

A year ago, it probably looked like a brilliant idea: bait products like Office 365 with unlimited cloud storage: documents and PowerPoints and Excel don't take up that much space, do they? Users, given a shot at a disk that was never full, took a different view, with some punters using it as a backup for small networks or DVD …

  1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    PR Disaster Looming

    Do I smell a PR disaster looming? Unlimited means unlimited except marketing PHBs and shysters which seem to be the ones running the 'Slurp.

    1. msknight

      Re: PR Disaster Looming

      Microsoft have been a PR disaster for years. Only their size and reach has protected them.

      However, they're going to push everyone to the cloud, then tighten the costs and limits until people can't afford to store their data there any more, and the whole thing will unfirl in a few years as customers leave and... oh look, there's no adequate stand-alone software any more. "Hey Mum, I've discovered this stuff that might solve the problem. It's called Open Source." "What's that love? Open Sauce?"...

    2. Velv

      Re: PR Disaster Looming

      In fairness, Unlimited was unlimited, but now they're stopping offering an unlimited service and only offering a limited service.

      Agree it sucks if you've stored more than 1TB and need to find a new home for it, but it's not the same marketing push from Unlimited* mobile services (*subject to any arbitrary restriction we want to limit you with)

    3. Geoff Campbell

      Re: PR Disaster Looming

      Unlimited means unlimited for the length of the contract. Seems to me that Microsoft are honouring that perfectly well.


  2. Adrian Smart

    Bait and switch

    Title says it all.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Bait and switch

      Or abusers ruining it for the rest... Although they are hoisted by their own petard, such a service really isn't designed with storing rips of DVDs in mind... When it was announced, I had a feeling it was going to end badly, because you just knew somebody was going to take them literally.

      I would struggle to fill half of the 1TB that is offered to me by the service.

      1. Chairo

        Re: Bait and switch

        I agree, there always seems to be someone without manners or hesitations that tries to game the system and thinks it's cool. On the other hand companies usually can very easily identify these cases and just terminate the contract without harming the rest of their customers. The big majority will probably behave well, anyway.

        So yes, I think it's bait and switch. Microsoft needs to squeeze out money from their customers and they always made it clear that the cloud is central to this strategy. I expect more of the same in the coming years. They will administer the pain slowly, step by step, so people don't notice it so much.

        1. Goldmember

          Re: Bait and switch

          "I agree, there always seems to be someone without manners or hesitations that tries to game the system and thinks it's cool."


          "On the other hand companies usually can very easily identify these cases and just terminate the contract without harming the rest of their customers."

          Again, no.

          "Unlimited" means just that; a service with no limit. If a company offers an unlimited paid-for service, it needs to realise people will use that service as much as they see fit. For me personally, 75TB is way more data than I've ever had a need to store (not counting my physical Blu Ray collection etc. of course). But if I had paid for an unlimited service with that intention and spent months uploading it, I'd be pretty pissed off if I suddenly had to find an alternative.

          Taking advantage of such a service is not gaming the system, and has nothing top do with manners. Cancelling contracts on a whim because a user has used an "ill-mannered" amount of data is bollocks.

          If MS (and others) don't want people using more than 1TB of space, then how about they just sell a capped 1TB plan? They shouldn't try to drag people in with an "unlimited" one which actually has limits, or gets revoked down the line.

      2. arkhangelsk

        Re: Bait and switch

        Personally, I never noticed them giving me the unlimited, but they gave me 10TB when I started using it.

        I'll admit I'm taking some advantage of that massive space but I'm only up to less than 500GB so far. I was planning to upload some more.

        At least they could have kept their initial promise.

      3. icesenshi

        Re: Bait and switch

        Of course, blame the users.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Bait and switch

      Exactly. It's bait and switch and probably planned. 1TB is a lot of disk space to give away "free". And when they pull that "oh, you need to pay us now" with the "free" Windows10 watch the screaming.

    3. Adam 1

      Re: Bait and switch

      Companies need to understand that unlimited has a definition. It means without limit which in turn implies that one cannot abuse it. If they don't want people to consume more than X GB then call it a limit of X, or shape inbound traffic in such a way that you are happy with storage growth.

      I am sick of mobile providers, ISPs, service providers, car warranties or whatever stipulating unlimited and then getting surprised when someone takes them up on it.

  3. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Shock horror!

    What, you mean that people actually used the space we said was "unlimited" like there was no limit?

    We all know that unlimited is a stupidly impractical thing to offer, but MS deserve a good PR kicking over this for the sheer stupidity of offering this and not expecting many to use it.

    It also is a timely reminder of how putting your key data in the 'cloud' is basically giving someone else the power to change T&C and boot you out if they don't like you. This time MS appear to be giving folk a year to mend their ways, but in the future?

    Paris - as she is smarter than MS marketing bods it seems.

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: Shock horror!

      It's what happens when a marketing goik is running the project. No techie would ever think that unlimited secure, robust storage forever for free was a good idea.

      Mind you, 70+TB takes some doing, it's hard to think of many legitimate use cases for an individual to have such a huge amount of personal data, and even the uploading of it must have been quite a chore, certainly someone had to pay for quite tasty bandwidth and data packages.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Shock horror!

        >No techie would ever think that unlimited secure, robust storage forever for free was a good idea.

        I thought that was the whole point of cloud storage - the fact that it's secure, robust, and remembers files forever?

        Statistically most people aren't going to get anywhere near their full allocation. So even the odd crazy with 76TB of... something ("Honey - I started downloading the Internet!") shouldn't affect overall viability.

        Unless maybe the 76TB is constantly changing. Then you've got a problem.

        But it shouldn't be. (Unless it's the raw output from the NSA/GCHQ spying efforts, or something.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shock horror!

      There is is one things that is practically unlimited and that's corporate bullshit, marketing lies and sharp practice.

  4. Daniel B.


    Good riddance. Yet another reason not to trust Microsoft on any of their offerings. Sure, offering "unlimited" data storage is a stupid, unsustainable thing, but scaling it back to 5GB when Google offers 15GB seems to be Microsoft yet again missing the boat. Hotmail remained at 2MB while Yahoo went 250MB, then Gmail offering 1GB and such ... by the time MS started offering measly 200MB accounts, most of its userbase had already jumped ship.

    Maybe this time MS just doesn't care, as pretty much nobody uses OneDrive anymore. I did use it, but mostly back when MS was still trying to compete in the social media stuff with MSN Spaces. It is precisely because of MSN Spaces' death that I haven't considered MSFT's "cloud" stuff at all. MS has a bad habit of killing off stuff at random, or rolling back benefits.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well...

      Google does much the same although it's something like a decade since I received a promotional upgrade on my Gdrive from 15 GB to 25 GB. I barely use them at all except for pwsafe backups and clean install basic sets. I'd not use them at all except for the fact that memory for such is a grabbag trying to settle on anything "common." That's exactly when you can nail me, my cloud watering hole. So I do understand the situation....

    2. Field Commander A9

      pretty much nobody uses OneDrive

      That's because you're living on the wrong side of the world--the capitalism side.

      In the socialism side of the world, OneDrive is the most reliable cloud storage service of them all.

    3. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Well...

      "Sure, offering "unlimited" data storage is a stupid, unsustainable thing"

      Google, Amazon and Dropbox all offer unlimited paid storage. If the 75TB users move to the other providers they'll probably have to scale back or implement more expensive tiers.

      "pretty much nobody uses OneDrive anymore."

      You know, comments like these need to be backed up with some sort of factoids.

      "MS has a bad habit of killing off stuff at random, or rolling back benefits."

      I thought that was what Google does with its annual service purges.

      1. Daniel B.

        Re: Well... @sandtitz

        Google, Amazon and Dropbox all offer unlimited paid storage. If the 75TB users move to the other providers they'll probably have to scale back or implement more expensive tiers.

        They should do it if they can't deal with the load. I wouldn't be surprised if either of those services were to have a 100TB user, it is pretty much bound to happen. Hell, it has happened even outside the tech world; American Airlines once gave away a $250,000 AAirpass that would give you free flights for the rest of your life. Guess what happened there?

        "pretty much nobody uses OneDrive anymore."

        You know, comments like these need to be backed up with some sort of factoids.

        I did a survey a year ago, when checking out cloud storage options for one of our clients. Nobody used OneDrive, or SkyDrive ... or even knew that Microsoft had a cloud storage offering at all.

        I thought that was what Google does with its annual service purges.

        Google usually does that to their free stuff. Microsoft, however, does it with their paid stuff as well, and even to mainstream products. Just ask anyone who was involved in the Windows Mobile/Windows CE ecosystem.

      2. lesession

        Re: Well...

        Asking people to back up anti-Microsoft statements with FACTS?

        You're new here, aren't you ...

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well...

      MS has a bad habit of killing off stuff at random, or rolling back benefits.

      Google has a bad habit of killing off stuff at random, or rolling back benefits.

      There we go, just for balance.

  5. OviB

    Another reminder of what cloud really means: now you have it, now you don't.

    1. AlbertH

      A perfect example....

      ... of "Vapourware"!

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Quite, since if that was your *only* backup then you now have to pull it back down to your local system (over your domestic link) and then upload it to somewhere else (over your domestic link). For anyone who took the original "unlimited" claim seriously, that's probably not technically possible (over your domestic link) within the time frame, so they *will* either lose the data or have to pay through the nose for a few months.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A 100Mbps connection, if you can fill it, works out at just over 30TB/month.

        If you are transferring from one cloud to another, there's no need to pull it back down to your home site first - just run the file transfer as an app in the cloud as well.

    3. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      @OviB "Another reminder of what cloud really means: now you have it, now you don't."

      Indeed. Which is why my lady and I use the cloud for data transfer when it is convenient to do so. The very idea of using it in any sense as primary storage gives us both the bends.

    4. David 132 Silver badge

      Another reminder of what cloud really means: now you have it, now you don't.

      Yes, this is part of why I dislike and distrust the current stampede to the cloud.

      If I buy a 4TB hard drive from Western Digital, it will stay in my PC for ever (or more likely, for about 2 years given WD's reliability record, but I digress). I'd be pretty miffed if I switched on the PC one day to find that WD had "changed the product description" overnight via an online update, and the drive was now only 1TB.

      Yet when it comes to the cloud, we meekly accept service providers changing the terms at their whim.. and always to suit them, not the customer.

      Bah. Cloud is just a fancy new marketing name for the old "mainframes and dumb terminals" model - ye Gods, have we already forgotten why we fought to get away from that?

  6. TonyJ Silver badge

    Bait and switch

    I second what others have said. You can't offer an unlimited service then be surprised when some users come along and expect to get an unlimited service. And to then say "Oh but a few are abusing it..." Erm... what?

    Three did the same thing with their One Plan. Unlimited data and as long as it went via mobile, that included tethering. Suddenly they woke up and realised that quite a lot of people liked to tether their phones.

    I sweat to god these people need a dictionary because they clearly do not comprehend what the word unlimited means.

    1. david bates

      Re: Bait and switch

      Are you sure? I know 3 USED to block tethering, but Im on sim-only one, have unlimited data and tehering. I actually verified this this year as I couldn't find a tethering add-on for my account...turns out tethering comes as standard.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Bait and switch

        Yeah they did a One Plan rolling 30 day, SIM only. It was unlimited data (and I believe it still is but only from the actual handset). But when some people started to tether them and use a lot of data, lo and behold they stopped the tethering.

        Edit...just realised what you were saying (bear with me - working on 2 hours sleep). From what I understand they haven't completely blocked it but reduced it to some derogatory value that makes it less then useless.

        1. PeterI

          Re: Bait and switch

          Three let old one plan users keep the unlimited tethering. For new users it's unlimited data for a phone, but 2GB for a tethered connection. From memory old users also didn't get things like free 0800 calls (and possibly some of the overseas data options).

          I was seriously tempted to stick with it (I used work on site a lot but with current job I don't) but in the end I swapped to a SIM only contract and bought a cheapo lumia 640 when the Nexus died as I didn't fancy a landfill android.

          1. Thecowking

            Re: Bait and switch

            I stuck with the unlimited tethering, though it _isn't_ covered when abroad using their feel at home thing iirc. But I do get the free data abroad, which is fantastic for using google maps when on a business trip.

            I just wish there was a way to not get the thousands of texts and minutes of calls I pay for but never use. I'll be honest, my phone is a pocket internet terminal that people try and call me on sometimes. I am not a fan of phone calls.

            Though the unlimited is pretty good on three, I discovered prodcasts about a decade after the rest of humanity and pullded down about 20 gigs of them last month. It's nice not to have to care about the download limits.

      2. ksb1972

        Re: Bait and switch

        I helped a poor witless individual get a 3 plan recently. It's unlimited data from her phone with a 4GB limit on tethered data.

    2. Andrew Jones 2

      Re: Bait and switch

      Three didn't remove the benefits from the existing users though - I still have Unlimited Data and Unlimited Tethering - and while I don't ever go really stupid with it - it's certainly been used to watch an entire season (or seasons) of a TV show on my Chromecast.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Bait and switch

        The Three call centre rep I was talking to last week said that they'd be withdrawing the unlimited plans from existing customers at the end of the year...

        ...and that would I like to switch now whilst he was offering preferential rates on alternatives that wouldn't be available at the end of the year!

  7. localzuk

    I'll stick to using HubiC

    All the big boys seem to charge quite a ridiculous amount for their cloud storage. I'll stick with HubiC, fast, cheap and reliable.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: fast, cheap and reliable

      I note that you avoided mentioning "secure".

  8. Spider

    too unlimited?

    Want to avoid the inevitable bad PR? Stop describing things as unlimited that aren't.

    Goes for cloud storage, ISPs, or buffets.

    If you offer it as such people will use it as such.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: too unlimited?

      Which (memo to Marketing Department) really means: Stop describing anything as unlimited. Because the universe (the part accessible to our senses, at least) is finite. As was pointed out over 7 years ago, in respect of 'unlimited' ISP access:

      The problem is that the current ISP model is like an all you can eat buffet, where one in 10 customers eats all the food, one in 100 takes his chair home too, and one in 1,000 unscrews all the fixtures and fittings and loads them into a van as well.

      What on earth does an individual do with 76TB? I reckon that's 20,000 DVDs - just watching it all for 8 hours a day would take 30 years!

      1. Sorry, you cannot reuse an old handle.

        Re: too unlimited?

        or just 3000 blu-rays which is about 8 years watching one every night...

      2. PhilipN

        20,000 DVD's

        And only 16,000 movies reviewed in Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide 2015.

        Oh. He doesn't do XXX movies.

      3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: What on earth does an individual do with 76TB

        Good question.

        I purchased and installed a NAS from Synology and put in 4 3TB drives in RAID 5 configuration. That gave me a total of 8.5TB of useful storage. Of that space, I have used less than 4TB ripping my 450+ DVD collection and other assorted data files.

        Even if I went back to upload every single one of my 150+ DVD backups, along with my new collection of 47 BR optical backups, I still couldn't fill up my NAS.

        Still, I'm happy with the knowledge that I can replace all my 3TB drives with up to 8TB ones. I just don't have the slightest idea when and how I will need to get that much space.

      4. P. Lee

        Re: too unlimited?

        >What on earth does an individual do with 76TB?

        Backups for VMs?

        This was always going to be bait and switch. It is highly unlikely to be out of control marketers, that would be very unlikely for such a high-profile product. It would be a deliberate corporate strategy that losing some users from your service is far better than not having any users on your service to lose. The advantage of such services is not the storage but the network effect. Few users = little benefit which means even fewer users.

        I'm puzzled at the new limits though. Where are the economies of scale? $2/month for 50G? How does that compare with buying a 4000G drive?

        Where are the soho VPN routers with sata ports and sftp/smb/rsync services?


    This is EXACTLY how it il go with Win 10...

    'Free forever? oh yes, well we changed our minds, err it's in the T&Cs'

    1. Baskitcaise

      Re: This is EXACTLY how it il go with Win 10...

      The first thought I had also.

      Maybe they are making room for all the slurp data? Oh and maybe a little spare for your "personal" stuff too.

      Oopsie doopsie just read the next thread Doh!

      Sorry I shall go and eat worms now.

  10. King Jack

    The Plan

    Somebody at M$ calculated that slurping everyone's harddrive and keystrokes needs a lot of space. That space is available on Onedrive, hence the claw back.

  11. Shaun 2

    I experience the same problem......

    ......Every year we go for an "All you can eat" Chinese for our festive outing, and every year they seem to "run out" of crispy duck after our first 5-6.............

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: I experience the same problem......

      I never have enough table muscle for an all you can eat outing. We go Japanese, and after ordering 5 or 6 ( x 6 dishes per round) rounds of sushi ect... I'm full. Maybe next time I cut down on the big beers? Bah, what am I thinking?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The free service will drop from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users

    cunts. That said, usb sticks are dirt cheap these days, Probably less time to post and deliver 60 GB than to upload it to a "cloud" anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The free service will drop from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users

      For me this is actually good news. I've been considering upgrading to a pay cloud service but was undecided.

      I could have 30G at onedrive or similar on google drive, but I don't trust their sync apps: onedrive sometimes crashes on my mac -- worse, onedrive creates several copies of some files than it is my job to find which is the latest one. Google drive has Alzheimers and keep asking for my password at the most inconvenient moments.

      I was going with onedrive as the least annoying option, but now I can search for other options (dropbox works but I don't need 1TB). Thanks, Microsoft, for helping me decide for one of the competitors!

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. dan1980

    Oh, the productivity, the fliexbilty, the POSSIBILITIES!

    Reading through the linked post explaining the change, we see:

    ". . . a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings."

    The first question that popped into my mind on reading this was: how the hell do they know what people are storing on there?

    Yes, of course, they have the technical ability to find out - it's elementary - but what does it say for how much Microsoft respect their customers' privacy? Okay, these few people were really using rather a lot of space but it was billed as an UNLIMITED service so they can hardly be judged to be taking the mickey.

    I mean, that's the very point of an UNLIMITED service - you can do things with it that you simply can't with a limited service, and that includes backing up a few dozens PCs and some servers and it includes digitalising your entire Blu-Ray and DVD and CD and recorded TV collection and it includes storing the results of your professional photography and videography business so you can share links of selected works with clients and it includes creating a temporary storage point for your entire virtual infrastructure to enable the IT support at a branch office over the other side of the world to selectively download reference machines for testing without having to build and maintain an entire parallel system full-time.

    So, really, what's the point of an UNLIMITED system if it's not to enable you to do those things that other, limited system won't allow?

    The answer, of course, as explained in the article, is that it was there as a PR stunt - a bullet point in marketing material that Microsoft could hold up as unique. They presumably figured that the overall effect would be only a small increase in storage needs and it would thus be a quick and cheap bit of PR.

    It is telling, however, that the limit they have settled on is exactly the same as the limit that was in place before the move to 'unlimited' storage: 1TB. If it's just a few people storing huge volumes of data then why not instead drop it to 10TB, or even 5TB*? Likewise, why drop the 200GB and 100GB paid plans and limit them to 50GB for new sign-ups, or slash the 15GB free storage to 5GB?

    The last one is particularly amusing considering that 15GB limit was an upgrade from a 7GB limit, meaning that the decision to drop to 5GB is a 30% decrease compared to what it was before the upgrade.

    With that upgrade, Microsoft explained that:

    ". . . we believe providing 15 GB for free right out of the gate – with no hoops to jump through – will make it much easier for people to have their documents, videos, and photos available in one place."

    So, if doubling storage to 15GB - "right out of the gate" - will make it easier for people to have all their stuff "in one place", what does cutting it by two thirds do?

    At that same time, they also told us how they were giving customers "as much flexibility as possible" by providing their monthly subscriptions at "dramatically reduced rates" and thus giving you to option to purchase 100GB of extra storage for $1.99 or 200GB for $3.99.

    So again, if the option to purchase a 100GB or 200GB plan is providing "flexibility" at "dramatically reduced rates", then how are we to interpret the decision to not only cut the number of options in half but to cut the storage in half as well, while of course keeping the price the same. One can only conclude that this move is designed to reduce "flexibility" and to do so at a dramatically increased rates.

    But back to the big one - the axing of the 'unlimited' storage for OneDrive for Office365, we were informed that we could "get more done on the devices [we] love" because, with "unlimited OneDrive storage coming to Office 365 . . . the possibilities are, well, unlimited."

    An example of just such a possibility was provided by Chris Jones (VP for OneDrive & SharePoint), who suggested that customers:

    " . . . get started using [their] 1 TB of storage today by backing up all those work files kicking around on your PC – with the knowledge that even more storage is on its way!"

    That's right, folks, start those backups and copies safe in the knowledge that there'll be plenty of room not only for the backups but for all the other 'unlimited' possibilities you will now have. So don't stint and don't worry 'cause Microsoft have got you covered and if you can dream it then you can do it.

    Because, you know, "storage limits [are] a thing of the past with Office 365 . . ."


    * - The reason, I believe is that if you provide unlimited storage, you can no longer wax lyrical about what wonders the latest incremental increase will enable. If the storage is unlimited then there's way to increase it and thus one less opportunity to try and convince everyone how awesome and responsive to user needs you are.

    In other words, if storage limits are a "thing of the past" then the, perhaps unanticipated, repercussion is that being able to drip-feed storage limit increases for PR is also a "thing of the past".

    1. dan1980

      Re: Oh, the productivity, the fliexbilty, the POSSIBILITIES!

      Sorry. I just want to apologise for the unforgivably poor spelling of the word "flexibility".

      And, honest truth, when I wrote the above line, I wrote: "felxibility". Damned inability to order my letters correctly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      storage limits are a "thing of the past"

      well, this time round storage un-limits are the thing of the past, and if another genius replaces the current genius at some point in the future (weeks, months?), storage limits might become a thing of the past again. Hey, it looks uncannily like the promises made by politicians, eh? Hardly surprising though.

    3. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Oh, the productivity, the fliexbilty, the POSSIBILITIES! @dan1980

      "The first question that popped into my mind on reading this was: how the hell do they know what people are storing on there? Yes, of course, they have the technical ability to find out - it's elementary - but what does it say for how much Microsoft respect their customers' privacy?"

      Maybe MS just asked the user?

      1. dan1980

        Re: Oh, the productivity, the fliexbilty, the POSSIBILITIES! @dan1980


        "Maybe MS just asked the user?"

        That is absolutely a possibility. I would think it's a rather slim possibility, however but you are correct - they could have done that.

  15. Arctic fox

    Hmm, yes. When even Ed Bott* reacts in the following way.........

    "That shouldn't be surprising. If you advertise "unlimited" cloud storage, perhaps you should expect that some people will take you at your word and move large collections to the storage space you so generously offered? Did no one consider the possibility that some customers with large digital media collections would find this offer insanely attractive? (The owners of "all you can eat" buffets could easily have told them what was in store.)"

    .......... and uses such words as "renage" in his commentary one has to conclude that Redmond have not exactly covered themselves with glory on this one!


    1. dan1980

      Re: Hmm, yes. When even Ed Bott* reacts in the following way.........

      @Arctic fox

      It's not just that they should have expected this to happen; they were essentially encouraging it.

      Okay, maybe they didn't fully appreciate what some people might do but they did say that unlimited storage provides unlimited "possibilities".

      What they are saying - or at least conveying - is that once you remove the limits the service becomes something qualitatively different and this is a point of difference and a reason to choose OneDrive over competing services.

      The point is that, for some people and some uses, the different between, say, 1TB and 5TB is irrelevant. If you've got 20TB of data, what good does it do to have a service that goes from providing 5% of what you need to 25%?

      One of the 'yay us, we're great and isn't this awesome' explanations of why it was awesome and, moreover, responsive to customer needs, was that this would enable people to store all their stuff in one place. This is an outcome/configuration that Microsoft have advocated and talked-up as being a major benefit of these capacity increases and the O365 OneDrive limit removal.

      To come back and say that they're discontinuing the service because some people are actually storing all their stuff on there is as amusing as it is predictable.

      1. Arctic fox

        @dan1980 "It's not just that they should have expected this to happen;..................

        ..............they were essentially encouraging it."

        I do not disagree with a word of your post. I was simply rather amused that Bott (a long time Redmond-watcher and generally rather pro-MS) sounded so indignant and annoyed in his article. That being a tone that you very rarely get to see in an article from him about Microsoft.

        1. Daniel B.

          Re: @dan1980 "It's not just that they should have expected this to happen;..................

          I'm also amused at that. Ed Bott is an outright MS shill, down to being one of the few ones who actually defended Windows 8's GUI. If he's mad at MSFT, it's quite telling.

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

            Re: @dan1980 "It's not just that they should have expected this to happen;..................

            Could have been Ed's DVD collection, then...

        2. dan1980

          Re: @dan1980 "It's not just that they should have expected this to happen;..................

          @Arctic fox

          Indeed it is quite the feat to have Bott disapprove!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    NSA calling!

    We just couldn't find time to look at all the pr0n!

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: NSA calling!

      Nah, they probably had another data center meltdown and needed disk space, fast. I guess they have excellent broadband.

  17. Graham Jordan

    Free storage isn't free storage

    Cast your mind back to the early 2000's and I use to run an illegal mp3 website. We didn't own our own storage, we used to host our mp3's on the various hosting company's offering 50mb/100mb/200mb (128kbs mp3's were considered high quality at the time) here and there.

    The website got more popular, the hosting companies got wise.

    I have a 1TB Office365 subscription. There's 12,000 MP3's on there, 65GB of photos, 118GB of HD home movies and less than a 1gb of actual documents.

    I find it really hard to believe that people exceeding the 1TB limit aren't doing so illegally. Remember in the UK it's illegal to rip your own music now; I bet the same law extends to your own DVD's.

    1. Arctic fox

      @Graham Jordan Hmm, I think that you have a point there.

      "I find it really hard to believe that people exceeding the 1TB limit aren't doing so illegally."

      It is perfectly possible (although it does not make Redmond look less "pratish" on this occasion) that it suddenly dawned on them that they were inviting headlines like "Microsoft hosts DRM-pirates" etc. etc. etc.

      I.e. Their Legal and PR departments suddenly read the memo and did not like it, not one little bit.

    2. dan1980

      Re: Free storage isn't free storage

      @Graham Jordan

      Trivially easy for some. One of my clients is a professional photographer and generates huge amounts of data. His main home storage unit is an 8-disk RAID-6 array with 1TB drives - 6TB total - and he is looking at buying anew unit that can handle 3TB drives. He writes his data to this and to 2TB external drives, which go offsite.

      Another client is a geologist and the magnetic anomaly data generated is quite impressive. Have a friend who is a freelance graphic designer. Her current storage is 4TB but there are numerous extra drives lying around and if it could all be consolidated then that would be handy. Another client is a web designer who deals with a fair bit of animation - they're at around 6TB over two servers and several backups drives.

      One of my colleagues runs a relatively small test lab at home and that's over 3TB of VMs.

      Point is that it's really not that difficult to have significantly more than 1TB that could be stored in the cloud. In all of the above instances, it would be used for a second-level backup, mostly for previously-generated resources that are rarely needed but need to be kept safe and off-site all the same

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free storage isn't free storage

      "I find it really hard to believe that people exceeding the 1TB limit aren't doing so illegally."

      Well, I store 600 GB of maps on our server, that's jpg, not original tifs. Believe it or not, they're all legal (out of copyright).

      Funnily enough, our server is also "unlimited", although not MS "cloud", thanks God.

    4. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Free storage isn't free storage

      I find it really hard to believe that people exceeding the 1TB limit aren't doing so illegally

      It's a bit "me too", but I'd like to add my 2p to the comments made by others. I don't think 1TB is at all excessive these days. I say this as someone who once paid £400 for a floppy disc unit that could store 400kB (Acorn DFS 80trk, 2 side) and realises that a single JPEG from his low-end SLR camera would fill between 8 and 12 of those floppies.

      My experience is right at the other end of the spectrum to professional photographers or geologists or whatever, but I do have four children, each with their own digital cameras and at present our NAS holds just over 1.1TB of photos, videos and scans(*). I've just doubled the storage to 4TB and expect to have to double it again in 2 - 3 years. A simple file count of the last few years shows that our requirements are increasing somewhat rapidly:

      2011 - 24GB stored

      2012 - 80GB stored

      2013 - 274GB stored (this is the year we acquired a video camera)

      2014 - 294GB stored

      2015 - 343GB so far with 2 months to go

      This is separate to documents (of all descriptions) and email etc. which are a small fraction of those amounts.

      My point being that we're not hugely out of the ordinary and yet we need more than 1TB of storage now. I have no intention of entrusting any of it to "the cloud" even as a backup, and especially if it's at all possible that the owners of the storage will take a peek at photos of my children, but for those people for whom the cloud performs a useful task, I can see 1TB becoming tight, quickly.


      (*)it does not hold any commercial media, pretty much all of which we hold in physical form: CD, DVD, BluRay, even LP, LD, VHS, CC and yes, they are all used. I've no idea how much storage is represented by even just the digital ones of those - maybe it's time to do an audit!

      1. dan1980

        Re: Free storage isn't free storage

        @Martin an gof

        "I don't think 1TB is at all excessive these days."

        Indeed. But more importantly, Microsoft didn't think it's excessive either, making reference to the increasing amount of data people need to store and how the landscape has change over time such that the increases (from 7GB to 15GB for free and from 1TB to 'unlimited' for O365) represent what it suitable and reasonable now. Or at least at the time they made their announcements.

        Apart from questions such as: "how can you abuse and unlimited service?", the biggest question this raises is about just how viable cloud storage really is.

        Many people see it as the future and I certainly agree that there is a place for it in a great many situations. (Not all by any means.) But a move like this really must make people stop and think. If your cloud vendor tells you that limits are "a thing of the past" and encourages you to start backing up your PC and shifting all your files over with the knowledge that you'll have enough space for everything - not just now but in the future as your needs grow, what happens when they turn around and pull the rug from under you?

        It undermines confidence in the entire cloud model in my view because it brings home just how much you, as a customer, are at their mercy. Larger clients may well be able to secure contracts with guaranteed levels of service and provision but many of the smaller companies can't.

        It's a very, very bad look.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Free storage isn't free storage

          It undermines confidence in the entire cloud model in my view because it brings home just how much you, as a customer, are at their mercy.

          I've never had much confidence in the cloud - or at least the free / very cheap offerings that are being pushed for Joe Bloggs - for that very reason.

          Yes, this makes it rather difficult for me to comment from a position of knowledge, but all I can think is that if I had decided to put my photos on someone else's servers (be it MS, Apple, Google, Dropbox or whoever) I would be in a constant state of worry about having to move them about. Never mind downloading them back to local storage - if I wanted to upload 1.1TiB (because that's what my NAS holds today) in one go to a server, my current net connection which is synced at 1Mbit/s would take - conservatively - about four and a half months.

          We looked into "cloud" (Amazon Glacier for example) for backup of the "front of house" network at work, but it rather stretches the definition of backup at speeds like that. Yes, that network is essentially ADSL2 too.


  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I going mad, didn't the limit used to be 1TB, then they made it unlimited, now it's back to 1 TB? Seems a bit silly, but then 76TB is just silly. Does onedrive use de-duplication in the backend, like dropbox? Seems like a better way to decrease storage costs, and then offer a premium £/GB single instance option.

  19. John F. Jackson

    Just 4 things

    1. The heads of those MS managers who made the decision.

    2. Reinstatement of the previous terms and conditions.

    3. OneDrive slogan as target for this week's caption competition.

    4. A professional service level agreement for all Microsoft's services (they are rebranding as a services company after all).

    1. Arctic fox

      @John F. Jackson Re: Just 4 things

      I have to say that I agree with you. It is quite astonishing that given the shit that the US telcos have been hosed with (entirely deservedly of course) regarding "unlimited" data plans I am amazed that Redmond's legal eagles did not call time on this with regard to storage plans . It's not as if there were no examples of how badly this would be perceived of by the customers. Icon? My opinion of the way that MS have handled this.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scientific data

    Some big science projects easily produce a TB per hour; think petabyte level for 'unlimited'

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Scientific data

      So it wasn't the NSA (see above), it was CERN?

  21. Bob Dole (tm)

    Unlimited should be a legal term

    IMHO, the word "Unlimited" should be a legal term. It is thrown around a LOT with regards to internet service providers, cell providers and others. I think any company that decides to utilize that word needs to pony up or be put out of business.

    It's like the word "Natural" on food packaging - it's meaningless, thrown around with abandon and only serves to confuse the public.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Unlimited should be a legal term

      Like 'time immemorial'?

    2. Vic

      Re: Unlimited should be a legal term

      it's meaningless, thrown around with abandon and only serves to confuse the public.

      The word "unlimited" doesn't confuse the public. It's the limited nature of the product that does that...


  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And here we see exactly why I don't use things like this for anything I care about e.g. my family photos.

    I really don't mind paying a few quid a month to store my stuff in the cloud (assuming it's secure and backed up). What I really hate is the prospect that 18 months after moving it all to the cloud I'll have to download it and move it somewhere else because the company I picked has gone bust or got bored with the idea or etc etc. As it stands at the moment I think you'd have to pay me to switch to the cloud for the inconvenience of moving my stuff every time the wind changes direction.

  23. matchbx

    Someone wasn't using their brain

    They could have left it unlimited, but simply limited the amount you could upload per day.

    Would have saved them a lot of ticked off customers......

  24. sjsmoto

    Eventually they'll say 640K is enough for anyone.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    I can understand why M$ need to reduce the size of their cloud when theyre have been plenty going spare over the UK this week.

    Joke Alert, but I thought the "Old Fart Windows User" looked better.

    As with the other stories about M$ upping fees and reducing services - they have to pay for Win10 somehow.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Clearly a case of a few idiots pissing in the pool.

    Who on Earth has tens of terrabytes of office documents?

    It is nonsense like this that results in labels on shirts warning you to take them off before ironing them and "warning: may cause drowsiness" stickers on sleeping pills.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      The NSA??

    2. gnarlymarley

      Re: Bah!

      "Who on Earth has tens of terrabytes of office documents?"

      May surprise you. As someone who works with technical support, my powerpoints are usually in the neighborhood of 30Mb. Adds up with you think about it. PDFs maybe the same. Oh, and that 30Mb is after the pictures were trimmed down, in order to save space.

  27. bed

    Windows Phone PR cockup

    One of the benefits of Windows phone was the option of automatic backup to the (then free) 15GB Onedrive cloud storage which, on 32GB phone, is about right. Reducing that to 5GB strikes me as shooting yourself in the foot which you have just put in your mouth. OK, you can take out an Office365 family subsciption you then get 1TB storage each for up to five people. But, really, what a PR cockup.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meaningless refund promise

    MS say that if your Office 365 subscription no longer meets your needs then you can cancel and get a pro-rated refund. That is not strictly true!

    I spoke to MS Support today about cancelling and they have no way to process pro-rated refunds for any licences purchased in the retail channel. They can only give pro-rated refunds on licenses purchased directly from MS.

    Earlier in the year I had some spare cash and bought enough license cards to cover me to March 2018, primarily for the unlimited storage option to store my photos and music online. I'm currently using less than 1TB, but if that's my limit I'd rather use Dropbox or Google Drive because they both seem more stable than Onedrive in my experience and I'm not impressed by Office 2016. But guess what? MS tell me I should talk to my retailer if I'd like a pro-rated refund!

    I'll bet they've not briefed the retailers on that one!

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