Microsoft Gets Generous With Cloud Storage, Bumps All Office 365 Customers Up To 1 TB

Microsoft, as part of its relentless battle with Google for the hearts and minds of cloud users, is more than doubling its free storage allowance and giving 1 TB to each and every Office 365 customer.

Microsoft is boosting its free allotment for its OneDrive cloud storage service from 7 GB to 15 GB, Omar Shahine, Microsoft's group product manager for OneDrive, said in a blog post Monday.

Google also gives 15 GB of free storage to its cloud customers. Box offers 10 GB and Dropbox offers 2 GB, and customers can get additional capacity by getting their friends to join the service. But Microsoft isn't making customers jump through any hoops to get the 15 GB, according to Shahine.

[Related: Microsoft's Lync Instant Messaging Service Suffers Outage, Engineers Still Working On Fix ]

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Microsoft is also giving customers that sign up for Office 365 consumer plans the same 1 TB of storage that used to be limited to customers who bought the more expensive business versions, Shahine said in the blog post.

Office 365 Home plans ($9.99 per month) will get 1 TB per person for up to 5 people, while Office 365 Personal plans ($6.99 per month) will get 1 TB per subscription. Previously, these plans came with 20 GB of storage.

The OneDrive free storage expansion and Office 365 bump-up will take effect within the next month, said Shahine.

The way Microsoft sees it, if customers are able to store all their data in its cloud, there's less chance that they'll look at services Google and other cloud competitors. More free storage could also translate into more Office 365 customers.

"The landscape is changing to the point that we believe it’s no longer enough to provide only cloud storage — that’s table stakes," Shahine said.

Jerod Powell, co-founder and CEO of InfinIT Consulting, a San Jose, Calif.-based Microsoft partner, expects the cloud storage expansion will get more people looking at Office 365.

"It certainly can’t hurt, and it has helped us accelerate our sales and more effectively compete with Box, Google, etc.," Powell told CRN.

Microsoft, which upped its allotment for OneDrive business customers to 1 TB in April, is also preparing to slash OneDrive cloud storage pricing for non-Office 365 customers. Starting in the next month, a 100 GB plan that used to cost $7.49 per month will be $1.99, and a 200 GB that used to cost $11.49 monthly will drop to $3.99.