As Apple and Amazon announced changes in recent weeks to its cloud storage services to better compete with rivals like Dropbox and Google Drive, Microsoft announced some big changes of its own service.
The company revealed today that its cloud storage solution OneDrive will offer 15GB of free storage for its customers, raising its capacity from 7GB previously offered for free. The new storage capacity places OneDrive well above Dropbox’s 2GB free storage and at the same level as the 15GB of free storage offered by Google Drive. Microsoft gave an even bigger bump to storage offered for subscribers of Office 365. Users who enrolled in the Personal/University versions of the subscription service will receive 1TB of space, and users of the Home version can get the 1TB storage boost for up to five family members.
The move comes as several major cloud storage companies began focusing less on selling cloud storage itself and more on using the technology trend to enhance other products. While Google Drive serves to boost the company’s ad services and iCloud Drive will provide enhanced features to Apple’s hardware running iOS and OS X, Microsoft’s OneDrive benefits the company’s software platforms. The company built its cloud storage solution into Windows 8 as well as into Office 2013, enabling users to save and store documents to cloud storage easily and access files from any linked device or on any computer's web browser. OneDrive also serves as the primary storage option for the mobile versions of Office, allowing users on devices like the iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone to save directly to OneDrive.
While Microsoft’s free pricing helps the company better compete against Google Drive based purely on storage, the 1TB offered to Office 365 users gives added benefits for users who pay for the productivity software suite. With the new pricing plan, users who subscribe to Office 365 Personal get 1TB of storage and an install Office 2013 for $6.99 a month, less than the $9.99 a month Google charges for 1TB of storage. Both companies offer free versions of its document, spreadsheet and slide-editing programs as web apps built in to their respective cloud storage services.
Along with changes in OneDrive’s storage options for free users and Office 365 subscribers, Microsoft also lowered the price of its paid cloud storage. Users can pay $1.99 a month for 100GB of extra storage and $3.99 a month for 200GB.