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Microsoft slashes cloud storage prices
AFP
June 24, 2014
First Published: 10:19 IST(24/6/2014)
Last Updated: 10:23 IST(24/6/2014)

In the wake of similar announcements by Google and Apple, Microsoft is the latest company to take a virtual ax to its virtual storage offerings.

And some ax it is too, as from Monday, anyone who already has an Office 365 subscription can now get a whole 1TB of cloud storage for free. And seeing as up to five people can use a single Office account for accessing Microsoft's productivity software, that means 5TB of storage.

An annual Office 365 subscription works out at $99, so the new cloud offer all of a sudden makes it a subscription worth having, especially for those that constantly switch between smartphones, tablets, desktops, notebooks and even games consoles. However, it's not just people who are still committed to Word and PowerPoint that Microsoft is courting.

Anyone with a Microsoft account and therefore access to OneDrive (its version of Google Drive and Apple's iCloud) now gets 15GB of storage for standard (it used to be 7GB). While for just $1.99 a month you can now rent 100GB (that's down from $7.49) and for just $3.99 (down from $11.49) can get 200GB instead.

As the company's Omar Shahine says in a blogpost announcing the changes: "With OneDrive, we want to give you one place for all of your stuff: your photos, videos, documents and other files. Of course, to do this, we need to make sure you actually have enough storage space for everything, particularly given that the amount of content everyone has is growing by leaps and bounds."

And while that's true, it's also true that competition for hosting a consumer's digital life in the cloud has never been greater, and the cuts that Microsoft is making bring OneDrives in line with Apple's new iCloud offerings and also match Google in terms of pricing.

The cuts also mean that Google, Apple and now Microsoft all offer more storage, for less than either Dropbox or Box -- the two leading independent cloud storage companies.

It's also worth noting that during the unveiling of its first smartphone, Amazon announced that cloud storage for photos taken with the device would be both free and unlimited. However, unlike Microsoft, Apple and Google, Amazon's offering is unique to the Fire handset and therefore to US consumers.


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