Over 70,000 customers took to the Microsoft OneDrive forum to complain when the company reneged last month on its promise of unlimited storage to Office 365 customers, capping them at 1 terabyte. It also reduced storage on free accounts from 15GB to 5GB.
So, on Friday, Microsoft apologised to these customers and announced it is changing its policy, again. It is giving them the chance to get their 15GB of free storage back.
Microsoft is not, however, going back to unlimited free storage. In fact, as Business Insider previously reported, months before Microsoft formally withdrew that promise, the company had been dragging its feet on honouring it.
When Microsoft formally announced it was backtracking, it blamed customer abuse, saying a few people were storing too much stuff in their unlimited OneDrive accounts.
Customers took to a Microsoft forum called “OneDrive UserVoice,” intended to be a place where OneDrive customers could suggest new features and vote on them. A post on November 2 called “Give us back our storage,” was upvoted by over 72,000 OneDrive customers, with over 4,000 comments. In that post the OneDrive user complained:
I have been a long-time OneDrive fan, but after this upgrade I can no longer recommend it as my promised storage has been taken away. Some of us actually store a normal amount of stuff in OneDrive. Why makes us pay for those who went over the top?
And the votes and comments were rolling in every since. On Thursday another user was frustrated by Microsoft’s apparent lack of response:
“Who finds it just unbelievable how this thread exploded with no response at all? It makes you wonder just what the hell is going on at Microsoft.”
A Microsoft spokesperson told Business Insider that the new change in storage policy is a direct response to that post that went crazy on UserVoice.
Microsoft is offering people on that forum a chance to sign up to get their 15GB of storage back, and to get back the additional 15GB of photo storage that Microsoft had at one point also promised people.
The spokesperson told us that anyone can request 15GB of storage through the sign-up page, although the announcement would be made on the UserVoice forum first.
The offer will be valid for a year, through January 31 2016, the spokesperson says.
Microsoft also reiterated that those Office 365 customers who were over the new storage cap when Microsoft changed its policy will not be charged for their excess storage for a year. Those using the free OneDrive service who exceeded 5GB can request a free one-year subscription to Office 365, which includes 1TB of storage.
So everyone gets a year to move their files, or to come to terms with paying Microsoft for the OneDrive service.
Here’s the full blog post:
In November we made a business decision to reduce storage limits for OneDrive. Since then, we’ve heard clearly from our Windows and OneDrive fans about the frustration and disappointment we have caused. We realise the announcement came across as blaming customers for using our product. For this, we are truly sorry and would like to apologise to the community.
We realise the announcement came across as blaming customers for using our product. For this, we are truly sorry and would like to apologise to the community.While we are not changing our overall plans, we’d like to clarify what we are doing for customers impacted by the changes and share a new offer which we hope will go a long way in making the situation better for our biggest fans.
Office 365 Home, Personal, and University subscriptions will continue to include 1 TB of storage. Any subscriber who received additional storage as part of our unlimited offer will keep it for at least 12 months. For anyone unhappy with the decision to not offer unlimited storage, we will offer a full refund.
For customers of our free service who have over 5 GB of content and who are directly impacted by the storage change, we will offer one free year of Office 365 Personal, which includes 1 TB of storage. These customers will receive an email with redemption information early next year.
In addition, for our biggest fans who have been loyal advocates for OneDrive, we are adding a new offer that lets you keep your existing 15 GB of free storage when the changes happen next year. If you also have the 15 GB camera roll bonus, you’ll be able to keep that as well. You can sign up to keep your storage at the link below.
We are all genuinely sorry for the frustration this decision has caused and for the way it was communicated. Thank you for sticking with us.