Microsoft’s Leaving Money on the Table with OneDrive

Posted on March 5, 2018 by Brad Sams in Microsoft Consumer Services, OneDrive with 82 Comments

Tell me if you have heard this one before, “I need more than one terabyte of cloud storage”? It’s not a crazy idea that you have a lot of data and want to back it up to cloud but Microsoft is leaving money on the table with OneDrive.

More than leaving money on the table, they are leaving an open door for competitors to come in and take away users from the platform. And this is a problem as I have reached my OneDrive storage limit and will be forced to move my data elsewhere.

There are a couple problems here which, on the outside, seem incredibly simple to fix. Right now, I have an Office 365 Home subscription as well as a work Office 365 subscription but my personal drive is limited to the one terabyte ceiling. Currently, I have about 900 gigabytes of photos and videos and a bunch of other content that I need for podcasting which puts me at the limit of what OneDrive will support; so what do I do now?

The obvious option is to delete some content but a lot of it is photos and videos of my daughter growing up and I’m not going to remove that content. In fact, I want multiple copies of it backed up and the other option is deleting or more likely move work-related items to the company OneDrive but then I have two separate accounts to manage and it becomes a pain in the butt to know where files are stored.

The logical solution is to let me buy more storage from Microsoft, I’d happily pay $10-20 a year for additional capacity but that is not possible. What I think I will have to do is move all my photos to Google Photos for backup and then keep the higher resolution files locally on a separate drive and remove my current photos from OneDrive.

Another oddity is that if you don’t have Office 365, Microsoft says that your OneDrive data is stored in a way that does not support advanced security. I understand that Office 365 offers more functionality but in practice, this is bad marketing as it sounds like your data is less secure than if you are paying for the higher tiers; Microsoft should be stating that they protect all data with the highest levels of security.

Unfortunately for me, I quite like OneDrive which means I’m not moving to DropBox but this lack of basic functionality of being able to expand your storage capacity is a frustrating barrier. Hopefully, Microsoft will figure out that consumers will pay for more storage but until then, I’m forced to give Google my photos and Microsoft my data so that I can stay properly replicated in the cloud.

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Comments (85)

85 responses to “Microsoft’s Leaving Money on the Table with OneDrive”

  1. stevenlack

    Completely agree with you Brad. I think it's quite sad Microsoft doesn't even allow for "top-ups". Google offers up-to 30TB of storage, and I'm thinking of moving my storage as well.

    • wolters

      In reply to stevenlack:

      I am having an epiphany of sorts. I'm a lifelong Microsoft fan but with the demise of many of their consumer products, I've kind of moved into a Google world. First up, my primary home PC is a Dell XPS that is my file/media server with PLEX. My laptop is a Surface Book. And I have an XBOX One X at the center of my living room media center.


      Yet, I find my Google Hardware and Software solutions more useful each day. I have a Pixel 2 XL, Google Home Mini/Home/Max through the house, Daydream, Google Wi-Fi, Android Wear watches, Pixelbook. I'm finding that yes, even on the Pixelbook, I can get work done.


      I am also considering using Google Drive to supplement OneDrive or perhaps even push OneDrive to the supplement. I can purchase additional storage tiers with Google Drive and I'm surprised how well it is working.

      • djross95

        In reply to wolters: Amen. In my experience Google solutions just work better than their MS equivalents. I'd rather use Microsoft, but Google Photos (for example) just walks all over Microsoft Photos.


        • wolters

          In reply to djross95:

          I have no immediate plans to ditch my Windows 10 based file and PLEX server or my Surface Book. But I am just super shocked and how many Google Services I used and yes, enjoy. I'm blown away how much I like the Pixelbook.

          • djross95

            In reply to wolters: I'm thinking of getting a PixelBook as well to replace my aging Thinkpad. And I have a Pixel 2 cell phone, which is fantastic too. I still like many MS services, but at this point I'd rather run them on Android!


            • wolters

              In reply to djross95:

              It will be one week on Friday that I've had the Pixebook. Beyond thinking I might have spent too much on it, I find myself using it a lot, even the pen.


              A few random thoughts:


              * The option to circle something with the pen and have Google Assistant provide more information isn't perfect and it often seems redundant. That said, I'd like to see this feature grow.


              * The Keyboard and trackpad are amazing. Even better than the Surface Book.


              * Android Apps are running much better than I ever imagined. All the ones I tested scale well. Sometimes, they do have issues with the mouse not being able to click the X button but over all, they work and work very well.


              * The launcher is not very customizable and kind of a mess. You can make folders but there is no easy way to sort or make it feel organized. There also some synced settings from Chrome on Windows (usually "Save To Desktop" shortcuts that carried over)...I didn't want to risk deleting them from my Windows machines, so I just moved them to folders.


              * I am realizing much of what I do is web based.


              I'm a Microsoft fan who is finding a Chromebook useful. Scary huh?

        • beatnixxx

          In reply to djross95:


          I think these days for Business/Productivity services, it's Microsoft first.


          For consumer services, it's Google, Amazon, Apple, etc. depending on the particular niche you need.


          I guess Brad's (and some others here) fall inbetween where they're doing businessy productivity type things on personal (i.e. consumer) accounts. This will probably only get worse as time goes on.

  2. maethorechannen

    If you have Amazon Prime then you could use the unlimited photo storage as a secondary place to back photos up to.

  3. Tmann

    Google Drive, whether it be the consumer offering or small business with G-Suite is just a better over package. I've moved from Dropbox because of cost and One Drive because of storage limits and security. If your on Android, it even makes more sense.


    On the small business side, the G Suite package is half the cost ($10 per user minimum of 5 ) of Dropbox and O365 with One Drive for unlimited storage and it comes with integrated Gmail, G docs, Calendar, Contacts, and a host of features.


    We are very close to replacing office with Google Docs. I would say another 3 months and we will not renew the 0365 package for software subs.

  4. harmjr

    If you have the office 365 version with 5 users licenses why not just make another user and they get 1TB of One drive?


    Now I think Microsoft will change this but it's still dealing with fall out from the unlimited.


    Hope my suggestion helps.

  5. Elan Gabriel

    They don't want nor need your money anymore. Excluding Xbox, they're not into consumer market anymore.

  6. jwpear

    Come on Brad, no one will ever need more than 1 TB of cloud storage! That's what folks said about 20 MB hard drives in the early 90's.

  7. peterh_oz

    Brad, you're a Business, with Business data needs, trying to use a Home version.

    Having said that, do you really need all previous podcasts on demand? Couldn't you archive some of them to say CrashPlan (unlimited), and stay under the 1TB (or 5TB family) O365 Home limit? OneDrive isn't a backup service, it is a file sync/storage service. If you delete, it is gone (via the web recycle bin, yes, but its not true backup).

  8. stimshady

    I think people need to assess what they are storing.


    E.g. 10gb of photos from that one holiday (vacation) in 2015 - most of which are blurry, largely never looked at... Are we just becoming hoarders of loads of really useless pictures etc?? I mean, how many pics of your dog do you need? And out of the ones you keep, how often do you look at them or print them or whatever?? I would say a change of what you're keeping rather than how you're keeping it will free up significant space.


    I try to sort my pics better now and it's actually a lot more fulfilling keeping the pics that matter and are really great rather than just tons of useless shots. Also - try putting them into a photobook or something. The ones that didn't make the book - delete them - you'll never look at them.


    Same with videos - I had tons of gopro footage that never made it into an actual edited video and just sat around doing nothing. Deleted that too.


    Digital organisation is needed.



  9. Sarge

    I don't get the attitude that a home user can't have that amount of data. I have 3 kids, tons of photos and videos along with my music collection and I have more photo's to scan in. I am around the 800GB range now and that is after moving some video content to my kids accounts in my home subscription. I would prefer to have the ability to buy additional space and not worry about workarounds. Spreading content around to other services isn't my preferred method. Ultimately, I would like to replicate the content into my kids 1TB space that are part of my home subscription someday so they each can have an archive of their childhood.


    Maybe someday it will be time to migrate all my content to another service, but when I do, I still want to deal with one service not multiples....



  10. Stooks

    "Tell me if you have heard this one before"


    Not from any consumer, unless they are trying to use a cloud storage for a lot of ripped movies or their hobby/job is serious video editing. No video editing people I know use cloud storage (Onedrive/Dropbox/iCloud etc). They use fast local/external storage (multi TB of it) and make backups of it, either local backups or cloud backups from a cloud backup company (backblaze etc) or both.


    I have 7906 photos and 1041 videos in my Photos app on my Mac, which syncs to iCloud taking up 56.81 gig and I see it on all of my Apple devices. 90% of that is of my kids/family over the last 17 years.


    I have 19 years of documents stored in iCloud as well and they are using 7.3gig. So my total use in iCloud is just over 63gig (mail and other stuff).


    What are you storing on OneDrive that consumes 900gig???? Hours and hours of 4K drone footage???? Do you game a lot and record your gaming sessions and store them in the cloud? Are you using it to backup a computer/s with a backup program?


    My opinion is that if a consumer needs more than 1TB of cloud storage then that need probably falls into the "professional", addiction (gaming recordings) or probably illegal (movie rips/sharing) bucket and they need to use "Pro" level storage.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Stooks:

      This brings "blaming the user" to a whole new level. It used to be that the user was "dumb", now they're supposed to be a criminal or an addict.

      • Stooks

        In reply to skane2600:

        My point is the average consumer, that is not some video pirate, hard core game streamer using the cloud as stream storage, or some professional video editor using cloud storage.....would have a hard time using even 500gig of cloud storage.


        Both Amazon and Microsoft reduced their "unlimited" storage to 1TB and in both of their statements they used video pirates as one of the reasons.


        Brad is using 900gig??? I could not use that much even if I tried too. I would have to back up my gaming PC and all of its installed games. I doubt OneDrive would even let you backup to it. If they did it would take forever! Even if you did a offline backup and tried to copy the backup file it would probably be too big or they might not let you store that file type.


        Like I said I have 8000 photos and 1041 home videos and it is only taking up 57gig. Does Brad have 17x the photos and videos I have? Possibly but I would probably not call that "average". I could be totally wrong. Maybe he has hundred of thousands of photos and video's.


        My video files used to be much bigger, 30gig or more alone but once they were converted from the older formats (mpeg/mpeg2) into mp4/mv4 that shrunk by 10-30x or more.


  11. Cain69

    OneDrive is unreliable... And at times outright furstrating... In fact yesterday I find out it had not backed up my pictures since 15Feb! I have pictures of my kids... other Pictures I cannot replace... What if I had broken my phone... All those pictures would be lost! All the settings were right... Everything was working... I had to uninstall and reinstall the app and poof it worked...

    I see it as an add-on value to Office 365. When I do need more storage (and I will soon)... I will pay for Dropbox (or Google Drive or Amazon)…

  12. JerryH

    Brad, you say you have the O365 Home, not the personal. So you get up to 5 users, each with 1 TB. What we did was setup a shared folder on each of the other users for read / write. Then you have an effective 5 TB. Yes, it is shared with someone. Unless you consume say two of the user IDs yourself (which is what I did). So then I have an effective 2 TB. Did the same thing back in the day when free accounts got up to 15 GB. Created a couple and shared them with my main ID.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to JerryH: Yea, you can get to them all with the sharing hack, but shared content doesn't show up in File Manager. You have to use the web or te OneDrive App (UWP) which is good, but not integrated into any of the MS apps like the main drive is. In other words Photos, Word, etc. don't see the extra storage as OneDrive. You can attach the other accounts as other locations, but you are back to, where the heck is that photo, video, file.
      Besides that, Brad may have a Home account because he is sharing the accounts with actual other people, not himself.


      • peterh_oz

        In reply to JerryH: shared content doesn't show up in File Manager

        If you share as mentioned, you can then have it show in file explorer, fully accessible by Word, Excel etc. I do this with shared folders all the time. I vaguely remember having to choose an option to "show in file explorer"but I don't remember where, possibly on the web? You do need edit rights though, not just view.

    • ajgmsilva

      Yes, I did the same. I'm using 3 TB of the home account.In reply to JerryH:


  13. SvenJ

    Beyond this there is no way to stack more O365 Home subscriptions. This is 2018. I can easily imagine a family that has Mom, Dad, and two kids, each of whom have a desktop, and a laptop. That's 8 licenses needed. Sure you could just have Mom and Dad each get a Home subscription, but that doubles and disconnects the management. Why can't I buy another stack of 'Home' under the same account?


    We may be an odd family, but my Wife and I each do have an O365 Home account, and we use our licenses. We could each use more, but we can't.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to SvenJ:

      This is 2018.

      Each family member may have 2 devices, but odds are the kids won't have multiple Windows devices. For that matter, mom's and dad's laptops are more likely than not employer-provided, so Office would either be employer-provided or prohibited by the employer's IT policy, so not using up Office 365 installs. IOW, I figure a single Office 365 Home subscription with 5 installs is adequate for most most families, and many families which may need more probably could get by with 1-year free Office 365 Personal offers.

      Then there's a reasonableness check: has MSFT ever demonstrated a tendency to leave money on the table? If MSFT doesn't offer Office 365 or OneDrive top-ups/extension plans, it's because MSFT has solid analytics showing that demand really isn't great (fewer than 1 million potential customers) and profitable pricing for such extensions of service would produce the appearance of inconsistency compared to standard Office 365 Home pricing.

  14. brettscoast

    Good post Brad


    You have a unique if not unusual problem cloud data storage and backup dupllication which is extremely important i really don't get why Microsoft cannot offer you more if you are prepared to pay for it, such as dropbox. I happen to like using onedrive and find its got most of the features i need. Do you backup up your important data to external based USB hard drive storage as well? (assuming you do.)

  15. SolarPower

    Brad,

    Microsoft is not serious about the consumer storage space business. I have tried to contact Microsoft and ask about the security of the service and the relaibility of the data storage. There is no documentation and no commitment. They seem to be providing the service as a "throw away" feature or necessity rather than a serious storage option for consumers. This is rather sad since they've built it into the operating system and made it mandatory with your account. Maybe they will surprise me and offer a service commitment contract/promise and improve performance but it will take many years if they actually commit to the product.


    In the mean time we will continue decline their persistent advertising and search for a better option. If they would show some commitment, we would continue to use the camera storage feature and to display our photos and videos on Xbox but they need to improve the speed and provide some form of declared commitment to storage backup and reliability as well as security. They could simply allow local storage on Xbox to provide improved speed/perfrmance and as a second backup location (at least for families with less than 1TB of storage).

  16. hrlngrv

    I suspect MSFT simply doesn't want to become a data archival company, or even have a significant sideline in data archival, except in support of their preferred business operations, Office and services for business customers. MSFT is willing to provide working, relatively dynamic storage, not long-term, mostly static storage.

    As for personal stuff, if you have Office 365 Home, you can have up to 5 users as well as 5 devices, and each user gets 1TB of OneDrive storage. If your wife doesn't have a MSFT account, time to make her one. Maybe also a TheSamsFamily account or 3. Then learn to love Hyper-V and VMs, and have different MSFT accounts open at the same time.

    As for multiple copies, good idea if each copy is with a different service provider, less good an idea if BSAMS1, BSAMS2, BSAMS3 OneDrive accounts all have their files stored at the same data center which the asteroid, hurricane, flood, or conflagration destroys. IOW, if you want the best possible redundancy, you should be using more services than just OneDrive.

    OTOH, if you want convenience, 5TB external drives cost a lot less than the latest & greatest Surface Book.

    See http://www.zdnet.com/article/a-terabyte-too-tight-small-businesses-beware-the-cloud-storage-ceiling/ . It has a table showing Google prices 1TB at US$9.99 per month. I figure Google may not be all that eager to get into data archival service either, so it prices high to discourage it. Even so, I figure Google isn't pricing this at 90% profit margins. I figure US$2-3 per month is what it may actually cost Google, and I figure MSFT's costs wouldn't be much less, so I figure there's ZERO chance MSFT would offer an extra 1TB for less than US$100 annually. US$10-20 annually for 1TB is cloud-cuckoo land wishfulness.

    Also, like with insurance, the more premiums you're willing to pay, the greater the odds you're a crappy risk; for online storage, those willing to pay for more would almost certainly use so much more they'd be unprofitable. Brad is likely to be the type of online storage consumer no online storage provider wants.

  17. terrencecrowley

    The idea that Microsoft is "leaving money on the table" ignores any discussion of what their marginal costs look like and how the cost and profitability is distributed between different classes of users. Historically "whales" have been money-losers for cloud storage businesses. It may be that you need to support such users as effectively a marketing expense (so all the users who don't use that much storage still feel confident about staying with the service and you lower churn and lower CAC) but the "money on the table" analysis is a marginal cost argument with no data to back it up. I would hope for a deeper analysis or at the very least an article informed by a basic understanding of the structure of these businesses.

    • skane2600

      In reply to terrencecrowley:

      It's really impossible to determine what the costs are since we don't have access to that data, but obviously there's a price point for "whales" that would provide profit without it being just a marketing expense. If the price is too high and nobody buys it, so what?


      If other vendors are offering such storage what do they know that Microsoft doesn't? Or are the other vendors going to pay a marketing cost forever? Seems unlikely.

    • Roger Ramjet

      In reply to terrencecrowley:

      hahaha. That's way too complicated for this site. But in fairness, the audience here isn't Microsoft business decision makers, it's mostly users. And for that Brad can put out a very high level user view point and let Microsoft figure out the economics to make the proposal work. It isn't that hard to figure out he is directionally right. Microsoft is already charging zero for the initial 1TB, so, charging actual money for incremental usage of the same product should be better for them, as long as they do not charge, below, as you wrote, their marginal cost. But maybe the MC of the product is so high that they figure nobody will pay it(hard to believe), and the only reason it is there - in limited quantities - is to sell the actual profitable item, Office365.

      Apple, which unlike many startups or Google/Amazon, does not throw money out the door to acquire customers for new products has a service where they charge for iCloud storage (storage which they may be buying from Microsoft, or Google btw). When I figured out the metrics they would have me pay annually for storing my photos I almost barf'ed, I exported all pictures from our iPads and my wife's iPhone to onedrive immediately. Yet, consumers are paying this left and right. Apple services is a money machine today (sure they do a lot more than storage). Possibly the reason Microsoft has not paid attention to this is simply they see onedrive as something to sell Office, a defensive item vs. all those other free storage solutions, they have not the imagination that it could ahem, be the one to drive the services.

      • skane2600

        In reply to Roger Ramjet:

        "That's way too complicated for this site."


        Ah, no.

        • Roger Ramjet

          In reply to skane2600:

          I challenge you to find a paragraph on product cost strategy as described by the poster, in anything Brad or Paul have ever written on this site. It was certainly not meant to say the readers can't understand it, but it's not the writers' beat, will not work in the business model of the site. In fact Thurrott has made one or two howlers that I know of doing "back of the envelope" quants so definitely not his area there.

          • skane2600

            In reply to Roger Ramjet:

            So what's the "complicated" part that you believe other commentors are missing? Stating that neither Brad or Paul have written about cost strategy in the past isn't evidence of the complexity of the topic as it applies to this specific article.

            • RR

              In reply to skane2600:

              Not sure what you are referring to, my "complicated" reference basically means this site's writers (Brad, Paul) don't and shouldn't get into that level of analysis the poster demanded. I think I have explained why I don't believe they need to do that above. Nor would it be a profitable thing for them. What is the purpose of truly solving Microsoft's or anyone's business problems on a site like this?

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to Roger Ramjet:

        . . . Microsoft is already charging zero for the initial 1TB . . .

        Or MSFT is charging zero for Office and the full cost for the 1TB, or splits revenues between the two.

        I figure OneDrive exists to help maintain Office's place. I figure if there were no OneDrive, Google Docs would currently have a lot more users. It's hard to reject the conclusion that MSFT doesn't want to become DropBox. Given its pricing for Google Drive, neither does Google.

        • Roger Ramjet

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          Sure you can think of it in any of those ways. But economically, if they are already charging for 1drive, it just makes the hurdle to a premium offering smaller because the distance to MC for the premium charge is smaller now, (not starting at zero price for the free version), and therefore would seem less sensible they aren't offering it.


          • hrlngrv

            In reply to Roger Ramjet:

            Simple economics: the marginal cost of Office is near zero (development cost is all sunk cost, so overhead, so no longer variable, once development of a new version is completed), but the marginal cost of 1TB of online storage is ongoing and substantial.

            I figure online storage is a lot like health clubs. Most members don't show up regularly. Some almost never show up but keep paying because they can't admit they're so lazy. Most Office 365 users probably don't even use 100GB. MSFT almost certainly wants to discourage everyone using more than 500GB.

            • RR

              In reply to hrlngrv:

              Yes on the O365 economics, I don't see the conclusion that Microsoft wants to discourage onedrive as a given. Of course, in a bean counting view, they have an incentive to do this when they offer a max "free" tier, "like a health club." But Brad started the entire discussion by asking them to charge for the tier above that so the premise of the discussion is the potential tier above that, not the incentives in the free tier below it.


              Btw, posting from a different device/handle passwords not synced but the family resemblance is clear :-)


              • hrlngrv

                In reply to RR:

                The potential for the tier above Office 365's 1TB/account OneDrive storage would be unprofitable at the US$10-20 annual cost, thus ain't gonna happen at that price.

                Given Google Drive's pricing for 1TB, the price would be closer to US$10 per month. That'd have the unfortunate implication that Office is worth nothing, and that's a message MSFT isn't about to send.

                I suspect OneDrive usage by account is highly skewed, with at least 10 times as many accounts using less than 100GB than more than 900GB. I suspect it's priced on the expectation that median OneDrive usage per account is less than 200GB. People willing to pay for an extra TB would likely use most of that, so would be unprofitable unless pricing for the extra TB bore no relationship to Office 365 pricing, i.e., the extra TB would cost more.

          • Roger Ramjet

            In reply to Roger Ramjet:

            Actually, a better reason they haven't charged for it occurred to me: this could be the ruins of some grand consumer strategy they once had. They may have intended it to be like what Apple Services is becoming, offering a bunch of sticky value-added services on top of onedrive but mostly didn't work, and Nadella started pulling plugs. So, the whole thing is in some sort of limbo where they don't have those consumer tools or users they hoped they would, on which a robust premium tier would be predicated (afterall Microsoft would not be in business of simply offering storage to power users to make a few millions, they are looking for billion dollar businesses again like Apple services, they imagined storage plus a bunch of other things that would be sticky, that are not there, alas).

      • maethorechannen

        In reply to Roger Ramjet:


        But maybe the MC of the product is so high that they figure nobody will pay it(hard to believe)


        If the prices for data on Azure is anything to go by, it wouldn't be all that cheap.

  18. Darekmeridian

    It also gives the appearance, that for some reason, Microsoft isn't capable of delivering scale-able cloud storage on their own platform, while much smaller companies like Dropbox and Crashplan have surpassed these limitations almost from their beginnings. I love OneDrive too mostly for the integration with the OS but their how they are handling this 1TB limit is baffling.


  19. gabba25

    More frustrating is that they only offer 1 storage subscription with 50 Gb. If you need more, then you have to go all in with Office 365 and 1 Tb of storage. A lot of people don't want the full subscription, they only want cloud storage. There is no storage plan for 100/200/500 Gb. Sure, they want to push Office365, but this is insane.

    • conan007

      In reply to gabba25:

      1TB with Office 365 is cheaper than 1TB with Google Drive (£5.99 vs £7.99 per month), so it does not bother me. If you don't want to use other features of Office 365 then just don't use them.

      • skane2600

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        "Finally, providing online storage isn't as cheap per TB as buying another 1TB drive wholesale for every new account. The infrastructure needed to provide massive amounts of online storage likely accounts for more than half of total costs for online storage providers."


        It all depends on how the online storage is organized and configured. If offering more than 1TB of storage requires an expensive change in infrastructure, than it isn't very well designed.


        "MSFT is certainly forgoing revenues, but there's likely to be little if any profit in providing TB-level online storage unless people were willing to pay substantially more than what they pay for a 1TB external drive."


        You think the cost MS pays for 1TP of storage is close to the price that a consumer pays for a 1TB external drive?


        • hrlngrv

          In reply to skane2600:

          My point is that more than half the expenses incurred by online storage providers comes from infrastructure and overhead rather than from storage media.

          Certainly MSFT pays a lot less per TB for physical storage, and lots of storage across hundreds of millions of users entails lots of redundancy. OTOH, MSFT also needs to store every common chunk of storage redundantly on different physical drives, and that means operating and maintaining an awfully large, complex, and very high performance database to make customers' files out of lots of common storage chunks. The data needed to convert O(billions) of storage chunks into O(quadrillions) of user files would get well into petabytes, and that data would also need to be redundantly stored.

          Also, the physical drives MSFT uses for OneDrive are certainly used more intensively than most home users' external drives, so their mean useful lifetime would be considerably shorter. A home user may get 5 years of use out of a US$60 2TB external drive while MSFT may get just 2 years of use out of a US$100 10TB drive. Do the math.

          I have some faith in classical microeconomics. If the marginal cost of 1TB of online storage were just US$1.00/month, I figure Google Drive pricing it at US$9.99/month would have one helluva lot more competition than it does.

          • skane2600

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            The point is that offering >1TB storage for those relatively few who desire it isn't likely to substantially increase infrastructure and overhead costs. While these costs aren't fixed, they don't vary linearly with storage capacity either. Usually there are thresholds that vary from installation to installation that trigger additional costs. For example, when you reach a certain limit, you may have to add additional cooling to accomodate the next set of servers.

            • hrlngrv

              In reply to skane2600:

              Without actual data, it's all speculation. Even so, those wanting more online storage are likely to be those using online storage more intensively. If a great deal of infrastructure cost comes from the data lines and piecing together outbound files and splitting to compress incoming files, more intensive users may cost more per GB to service than less intensive users. You're focusing on how much data is transferred. I'm focusing on how much data is transferred daily. In that sense, there may be some users with less than 200GB stored who are more expensive to service than others with more than 800GB stored.

              Also, I seem to have more faith in MSFT's collective business sense than most others. I just can't accept that people here (including Brad) are correct and MSFT is wrong about the bright business prospects of expanded OneDrive storage.

      • Chris Payne

        In reply to conan007:

        For us stateside, the cheapest monthly Office 365 plan is $6.99/mo, or $69.99 for a year. Comes with 1TB One drive. The only Onedrive-only plan is 50GB for $1.99/mo.


        Google drive with 1TB is $9.99/mo. I'm not sure if there's any sort of "Google docs" bundle discount.


        So the difference is even more stark here.

  20. jimchamplin

    Following up on Wonderbar’s comment, it’s clear that OneDrive is another part of Microsoft’s self delusion that they provide services that are equal to Apple and Google. They act like having a old-school file sync client is equal to iCloud Photo Album and Google Photos, which operate within their specific applications and focus on one type of media.


    Why does Photos exist if everything that appears in the gallery on one device doesn’t t appear in all of my other devices? I can’t count on it. On the other hand, if I save an image on my iPad, it will appear on my iPhone and Macintosh.


    Along with those deficiencies, the limited space really show that OneDrive isn’t either not technologically advanced, or has poor leadership. My money is on the latter.


    Edit: Yes. This was sooooo controversial that it warranted three downvotes.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to jimchamplin: Maybe the downvotes are because it is not true. If I upload a photo to OneDrive directly or via autosave from WP, iOS or Android, it is in fact accessible from the Photos app on my Windows laptops and desktops. I do have to open the OneDrive 'location' from within the photos app, but I have more available storage locations in that app than I do with Google or Apple's Photo apps. I may not be using the latter to their potential, but I certainly get the OneDrive photos in Photos.


  21. Daekar

    This has not happened to me yet, but only because I didn't back up our video collection in OneDrive with everything else. There will come a point in the future, sooner than I anticipate I guess given photo file sizes, when I hit that 1TB limit and then I will have no choice but to move to a different cloud provider, as much as I like OneDrive. And I absolutely will move rather than compromising our cloud backup by fragmenting where things are stored. I too would gladly have the option to pay for more storage right this very second - take my money, Microsoft!


    Seriously, who made this decision? *sigh*

  22. Tony Barrett

    I'd say there's <1% of people who need >1TB cloud storage, but that's still people who I guess are prepared to pay for the privilege. MS are actually strangling OneDrive usage, and have been doing so over the last couple of years with their policy changes. Do they really want people to use it - not just for cat photos and holiday pics, but *really* use it for critical stuff, or don't they actually trust their own systems enough? Would I trust MS with critical data? Not a chance.

  23. pvcoco

    At least the OneDrive for Business allows 5TB/user, except the Android sync client only allows photo backup to the consumer OneDrive ?.

  24. wunderbar

    Honestly, onedrive is not a true backup solution for things like photos and videos, and shouldn't be treated as such. Onedrive is a file sync solution, which is different than backups. There are a number of other solutions that are true cloud backup solutions.


    I personally use carbonate for this purpose, but there are other solutions like backblaze that do the same thing.

  25. xperiencewindows

    Why not keep your seldom used data on physical drives, with the appropriate backup/redundancy measures in place, and your more frequently accessed data in the cloud?

    • Lauren Glenn

      In reply to xperiencewindows:

      Probably because that gets messy. I understand why he wants to back it up as I'm in the same boat. Fortunately for me, I use Dropbox for my day to day files as I've never lost a file with them and am not about to start now. So, I have 1TB from them and then I have 1TB through OneDrive. It's not ideal, but I can break out one set of videos in one place and another on the other service.


      OneDrive has a good streaming app for videos on their service (it has some issues, but it does seem to work).... I'd love to use that for all of my videos but I can't because I don't have 2TB.


      And in terms of more redundancy measures, etc... what if there's a fire in the house? He doesn't have an off-site backup then. Sure he can put one in an office somewhere ... if he remembers to.

  26. gregsedwards

    I agree that no company should make it hard for you to give them your money. Microsoft absolutely should sell a reasonable amount of additional storage to individuals who need it. But I think it comes down to common usage. Right now, the average consumer doesn't have nearly 1TB of personal data they need to store. If you consider using OneDrive for "traditional" user-created content - files like documents, photos, and even music - I think you'd be hard pressed to get anywhere near 1TB. With everything I've ever cared about saving combined, I've only got ~150GB in my personal OneDrive right now, and a fair chunk of that is my music collection. I have a separate OneDrive for Business account through my company with 1TB for my own work files and SharePoint for team documents and project work, so I'm pretty comfortable right now.

    On the other hand, if I put all my ripped movies and back-ups on OneDrive, I would easily exceed the limit. I don't need to access that stuff like documents, so it doesn't go into my OneDrive. Instead I keep it on my NAS, which I can still access remotely should I need to get to it.

    Customers who legitimately need more than 1TB are going to be few and far between. Perhaps a few professional podcasters and video editors here and there would pay for increased storage. But you have to know that that vast majority of people who would pay for additional storage would just use it to store pirated entertainment content, and I think they just don't really want to have that liability on their service right now.

    That said, I suspect that consumers' data storage needs will increase over time, much as they always have, and OneDrive will be updated to keep pace accordingly.

  27. mtalinm

    I was a faithful OneDrive users but abandoned it for this reason as well as its other restrictions: no files over 10G, refusing to sync files with special characters in the wrong place (e.g., a comma at the end of the filename). ugh. dropbox handles it all with aplomb.

  28. hometoy

    Set up your own Nextcloud server (nextcloud.com/) and the limits is as large of hard drives you want.


    File synchronization with cross-platform client, mobile access, web interface, calendar/contacts and more where you control the data. And it is super easy to set up (even on a Raspberry Pi w/USB drive).


    Basically offers products like Google does (maybe not as spit-and-polished) except for Gmail, without anybody snooping through your files and stuff!

    • Lauren Glenn

      In reply to hometoy:

      It also costs 1900 Euros for 50 users.

    • Thomas Parkison

      In reply to hometoy:

      Yes, that is a solution but only if you want to invest in the kind of hardware you need to implement the kind of redundancies that OneDrive offers. Not only is your data available wherever you are but your data is also stored on huge disk arrays so as to make sure that no one drive failure will wipe out your data. The kind of redundancies that OneDrive offers is going to be expensive to build on your own.

      • hometoy

        In reply to trparky:

        It all depends on how you want to set it up.

        I have it on an old Dell Optiplex I got from work, with an 1.5 TB internal hard drive for synchronization and a script that backs it up to USB drive every night. So everybody's data is at least stored on their system, the Nextcloud server and the backup. I could see about some online backup service to also back it up to, but I haven't yet.


        It isn't idea because if something happens to the house it's a goner too. But once I go online I know the price is going to be jacked up and I'm not made of money. But at least everybody in the house has their information being backed up.


        I guess I could open a port in or set it up in a DMZ zone with a dynamic IP address service so I can access it while I am away from home. But I don't need access like that. I do what I need while out, come home and synchronize.


        But if I want the redundance and robustness of OneDrive, it's going to cost either way. The advantage with the Nextcloud is that It's all up to me. And if I break it, I get to keep both parts! :)

  29. Winner

    I don't think Microsoft thinks its primary mission is in the cloud storage business.

    They briefly offered an "unlimited" storage option a few years ago but then quickly killed it because people were "taking advantage of it", lol.

    I suspect OneDrive exists to help grease Office 365 subscriptions.

  30. plibken

    I also have Office 365 Home and am waisting lots of space because all family pictures and videos have to be duplicated on my storage space and my wife's storage space because sharing files and folders sucks.

    Office 365 Home should contain a 1TB (or more) storage space which is shared to all members just like a server share would be. With the ability to set permissions.

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