Microsoft's Chris Jones, corporate vice president of OneDrive & SharePoint, updated the OneDrive blog on Monday to report that customers of Office 365 will get unlimited OneDrive storage for free. He said that the free storage is rolling out now for Office 365 Home, Personal and University editions.
The full rollout will take a few months to complete, but customers are able to get in front of the long line by heading here. After that, customers will be notified by email when their free storage becomes available. Jones said this move to free storage is an important milestone for the OneDrive cloud service.
"For OneDrive for Business customers, unlimited storage will be listed on the Office 365 roadmap in the coming days, and we will begin updating the First Release customers in 2015, aligned with our promise to provide ample notification for significant service changes," Jones wrote.
Office 365 Home costs $9.99 per month and can be installed on five PCs and Macs, as well as on five tablets. The Personal version costs $6.99 per month and can be installed on one PC or Mac and one tablet. Both include online versions of Office, support for offline and online storage, and $60 worth of Skype minutes each month.
On the business end, Office 365 Business Essentials costs $5 per user per month. There's also Office 365 Business that costs $8.25 per month per user and Office 365 Business Premium for $12.50 per month per user. All three have a user maximum of 300 individuals, and they require an annual commitment.
Microsoft changed the name of its cloud storage service back at the end of January from SkyDrive to OneDrive. The company was ordered to change the name as part of a legal trademark infringement lawsuit with UK satellite company BSkyB (aka Sky). The British company used to have a cloud service called "Sky Store & Share," but closed it in 2011. The company didn't want customers to be confused by Microsoft's own SkyDrive service.
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Office is a good example of this. You can pay one time for the Office Home/Personal edition for ~$115 USD. 365 might be cheaper for one year at $7 each month, but it's only better if you feel you have to upgrade every year.
Suppose you bought Office 2010 Home/Student 1-user for $115. When Office 2013 came out, perhaps you thought as many others did that there weren't enough compelling reasons to buy it. So you use your 2010 version for 3 years until you decide to upgrade to Office 2015 (or whatever the new version will be called). Your one-time purchase of $115 is much cheaper than $7 per month over 3 years ($7 x 12 x 3 =$288). The only way 365 is cheaper is if you have more than three users in your home who need Office. Then the 5-user 365 version @$10 per month is cheaper over three years.
Unlimited storage is nice, but I still hate to support this trend towards subscriptions.