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2TB or not 2TB: Microsoft fiddles with OneDrive as competition offers twice the storage

But they'll throw in copy of Excel to work out when space'll run out

Microsoft is emitting a raft of tweaks to its OneDrive offering this month, but has yet to address the elephant in the room. Or rather, the lack of elephantine storage in the room.

In its announcement Redmond cheerfully points to all the new toys incoming over August, with Android users being singled out for particular love.

The Android OneDrive app will see improvements to file uploads, allowing a user to work out what is actually being uploaded and how fast the upload is happening. Hopefully without recourse to a progress bar of randomness, memorably lampooned by Google in its recent plug for Chromebooks.

Android users will also see improvements to scanning directly into OneDrive via the device’s camera. Functionality due in the early part of August will add some basic page and edit tools, such as cropping and rotation. Users desperate for such functionality right now could, to be fair, do worse than Microsoft’s Office Lens which does pretty much the same thing.

Outside of the Android world, the other notable OneDrive change is around versioning for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online libraries. The change is the result of some swift backpedalling on behalf of Redmond after user feedback indicated that no, users really want to be able turn off file versioning.

Microsoft had previously planned to activate versioning as a default, storing a minimum of 100 versions for document libraries. Users would not be able to turn this off, with only Developer APIs able to drop the version count or deactivate it altogether. Thanks to “valuable feedback” from customers, the “off” button is making a re-appearance.

What isn’t making an appearance is a jump in storage. That remains firmly locked at 1TB for the vast majority of paying subscribers. This is in stark contrast to Google, Apple and Dropbox, all of whom will sell users 2TB tiers, with DropBox entering the fray just this week. Apple’s 2TB iCloud tier, as an example, costs UK users £6.99 a month. Microsoft, on the other hand, offers 1TB for £5.99.

Redmond will be quick to point out that its £5.99 also gets you Office for PC or Mac, but many users would like to at least have the option for more storage (judging by OneDrive’s own UserVoice forum). It isn’t until users venture into the labyrinthine world of Microsoft’s Enterprise licencing that more storage becomes available - up to 5TB after a few hoops are leapt through.

The 1TB limit was slapped on after the Windows vendor whipped the snout of users out of the unlimited storage trough two years ago. Things have moved on since then, as cameras gain ever more megapixels. But OneDrive storage quotas, alas, have not.

We have contacted Microsoft for comment. ®

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