Microsoft beefs up Office 365 with unlimited OneDrive cloud storage
Microsoft is making Office 365 a considerably sweeter deal with unlimited OneDrive storage for all users, as the commoditization of pure cloud storage continues.
The free upgrade will roll out to all subscribers “over the coming months,” Microsoft says. Existing subscribers can jump ahead in line by signing up through Microsoft's website (though doing so requires opting into promotional e-mails). This is the second storage boost that Microsoft has given to Office 365 subscribers this year, having upgraded users to 1 TB of storage in June.
Office 365 is the subscription version of Microsoft's productivity suite, which includes copies of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and several other programs. A $70 per year Personal account authorizes non-commercial use on one computer and one tablet, and a $100 per year Home account authorizes non-commercial use on up to five PCs and five tablets. Commercial users must get an Office for Business account, which will get the unlimited storage upgrade in 2015.
There's no limit on the number of devices that can access OneDrive storage, but access is tied to a single Microsoft account with a Personal subscription. With a Home subscription, up to five separate Microsoft account holders can each have their own cloud storage space.
For users who don't want Office 365, Microsoft is still offering smaller OneDrive subscriptions. A 100 GB plan costs $2 per month, and a 200 GB plan costs $4 per month.
Why this matters: Unlimited cloud storage seemed like an impossible promise just last week, when provider Bitcasa killed off its unlimited plans. Microsoft is bringing it back at such a low price that the included Office software almost seems like a bonus feature. While Microsoft isn't the first company to realize that killer apps drive cloud storage, it has arguably executed on that idea better than anyone as it turns online storage into a commodity.