In 2014, Microsoft provided Office 365 subscribers with unlimited OneDrive storage, as the company removed the limit of 1TB for the cloud storage service.
With the move, paying Office 365 users were able to take advantage of a great deal. With the cheapest subscription costing only $7.00 a month, Microsoft was able to increase OneDrive's competitiveness against rivals Google Drive and Dropbox, as both services were charging a monthly fee of $10 for 1TB of storage. In comparison, in addition to the unlimited storage at a cheaper price, the subscription also offered access to Microsoft Office.
However, Microsoft has now decided to take back its decision, as some users abused the unlimited storage privilege.
"Since starting to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings," Microsoft wrote in a OneDrive Changes FAQ posted on the service's official blog. The company added that, in some cases, users utilized 75TB of storage, which is 14,000 times the average utilized by Office 365 subscribers.
Microsoft said that instead of creating backup scenarios for these extreme cases, it has decided to maintain its focus on the delivery of high-value services that would benefit most OneDrive users.
With the changes, subscribers for Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal and Office 365 University will go back to a 1TB limit for OneDrive storage. For users that are under these plans but currently have over 1TB stored in their OneDrive accounts, they can keep the increased space for at least 12 months.
Microsoft, however, is also offering pro-rated refunds to users that decide to withdraw from their Office 365 subscription with the announcement that there would be no more unlimited OneDrive storage.
Paid users of OneDrive will also be experiencing downgrades, with the 100GB and 200GB storage options to be replaced by a 50GB service for a monthly fee of $1.99 beginning early next year. Current subscribers to standalone storage plans on One Drive, however will not be affected.
Free storage on OneDrive will also be decreasing to 5GB from 15GB for all new and current users, with the bonus of 15GB for camera roll storage also to be discontinued.
It remains to be seen how many users would be moving to other cloud storage services with these changes to OneDrive. It is up for debate whether Microsoft made this decision solely due to abusing users, or because the company's offerings were too good and that the costs outweighed the benefits that the company receives.