Microsoft boosts OneDrive storage to free terabyte

Office 365 Home, Personal and University plans start seeing more storage

Microsoft has started boosting the free allowance of OneDrive, its cloud-based storage service, to one terabyte for subscribers to consumer and college student Office 365 plans.

The move follows by two weeks a similar increase in OneDrive for Business, the storage center offered to commercial customers, either as part of their subscriptions to the "rent-not-own" Office 365, or as a stand-alone service for $2.50 per user per month during a promotion through September.

In June, Microsoft announced it would add a terabyte to OneDrive's free allotment for all subscribers to Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal, the two consumer-level plans, and Office 365 University, which is aimed at college students.

That roll-out has begun, Computerworld confirmed with several people who have an Office 365 consumer or college student subscription. Those people said that checks of the storage space now allotted them showed 1,024 gigabytes, or one terabyte in binary notation.

Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal cost $99.99 and $79.99 annually, respectively, while Office 365 University runs $79.99 for four years.

Microsoft has also pledged to increase the free storage allowance to 15GB for customers who do not subscribe to a consumer or college student Office 365 plan. That upgrade from the previous 7GB free allotment, however, has not yet started, according to checks by Computerworld.

Last month, Microsoft said it would slash prices for additional storage for those consumers and students who need more than the standard free allowance. An extra 100GB will cost $1.99 per month -- or $23.88 per year -- 52% less than the current $50 annually; the price of 200GB will also drop by 52%, from $100 per year to $3.99 per month ($47.88).

Those price cuts have not yet been implemented.

Several days after Microsoft told customers of the OneDrive storage space boosts, Google responded by announcing it would give customers of its Google Apps for Business an unlimited amount of storage for an additional $5 per month per user.

Before that, an extra 1TB for Apps for Business ran $9.99 per month per user.

Apple, too, has talked up storage this summer. Early last month, the Cupertino, Calif. company said it would drop prices of additional iCloud storage, although it will not increase the free amount. Plans of 20GB for 99 cents per month and 200GB for $3.99 monthly will kick in this fall with the release of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite; the former represents a 70% discount from Apple's current pricing.

Microsoft began boosting consumers' OneDrive storage space to 1TB.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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