With cloud storage rapidly becoming a commodity, Microsoft has taken the next logical step in the file-syncing bunfight, doing away with storage quotas altogether for paying customers of its subscription Office 365 offerings.
Microsoft began opening up the data-hosting sluices in June, when it gave every Office 365 subscribers’ 1TB of OneDrive storage each. Now even that limit is being removed, and customers will be able to use the service to store as much as they want.
“Unlimited cloud storage will be a feature of every paid Office 365 plan” Redmond
Even including the humble Office 365 Personal tier, which currently goes for $7 (£6) per month or $70 (£60) when billed annually.
Users of the free Office Online version, on the other hand, will still have just 15GB of OneDrive available.
By way of comparison, both Box and DropBox already offer unlimited-storage solutions for businesses, but each has a minimum buy-in of $15 per user, per month, with a minimum number of users to sign up. Both companies’ personal-use plans do have storage caps, as do similar plans from the likes of Google and SpiderOak.
For its part, however, Microsoft says raw storage capacity isn’t the point, and that it’s OneDrive’s integration with the broader Office 365 offering that makes Redmond’s service stand out from the rest.
“While unlimited storage is another important milestone for OneDrive we believe the true value of cloud storage is only realized when it is tightly integrated with the tools people use to communicate, create, and collaborate, both personally and professionally,” Chris Jones, Microsoft’s OneDrive corporate VP, said in a blog post.
Redmond began rolling out unlimited storage to some Office 365 Personal, Home, and University subscribers on Monday. Getting every customer re-provisioned is expected to take several months, but anyone who’s eager to be early in the queue can sign up at a special website.
Rolling the feature out to business users will take longer. Customers will be eligible whether they’re using the standard OneDrive cloud service or OneDrive for Business – the two aren’t exactly the same – but subscribers to Office 365 plans aimed at businesses won’t start seeing their storage caps lifted until early 2015.
Customers who have signed up for Microsoft’s Office 365 First Release program will be first to get the upgrade, followed by less adventurous subscribers later in the year. Jones said details of the business roll-out will be posted to the official Office 365 roadmap site in the next few days.