Microsoft surprised many last month by announcing plans to reduce its free OneDrive storage from 15GB to 5GB. While the company is also removing its unlimited storage tier, it was the free storage removal that generated a backlash from OneDrive fans. A petition asking Microsoft to "give us back our storage" has received more than 70,000 votes over at Microsoft's OneDrive feedback site, and now the company has been forced to respond.
"We've heard clearly from our Windows and OneDrive fans about the frustration and disappointment we have caused," says a Microsoft spokesperson. "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."
You need to opt-in to keep your free OneDrive space
Microsoft isn't changing its plans to remove unlimited storage, but the company is going to allow OneDrive users to keep their existing 15GB of free storage and the 15GB camera roll bonus (30GB in total of free storage). This won't be automatic though, and OneDrive users will need to opt-in to keep their storage. That means the vast majority of regular OneDrive users who aren't aware of the changes will still be affected unless they opt-in to save their storage.
Office 365 subscribers affected by the unlimited OneDrive storage removal have some options too. The subscription will revert to 1TB of storage next year, but OneDrive users who received the additional storage will be able to keep it for at least 12 months. Office 365 subscribers can also request a refund if they're unhappy with the unlimited storage removal.
Microsoft is also providing one year of Office 365 Personal to any OneDrive user that is using more than 5GB of free space. Office 365 Personal comes with 1TB of OneDrive space, but it's also worth claiming the 30GB of free storage even if you're offered the Office 365 Personal deal.
It's rare to see Microsoft communicate customer changes so badly, but it's clear the company has listened to the feedback here. It took a month to respond, but most OneDrive users will be pleased with the result. "We are all genuinely sorry for the frustration this decision has caused and for the way it was communicated," says a Microsoft spokesperson.