The cloud wars have begun.
You'll soon be able to buy 100GB of OneDrive storage for just $US1.99 a month (down from $US7.49), and 200GB for $US3.99 (down from $US11.49). The free allotment is going up, too: Anyone with a OneDrive account gets 15GB (it used to be 7GB).
The biggest jump, however, is the amount of storage granted to Office 365 subscribers. If you subscribe to Office, you get a massive 1 terabyte of storage, and that's per person. An Office 365 Home account lets you share the subscription with five people, and each person gets 1TB, adding up to a maximum of 5TB. Previously, Office subscriptions granted just 20GB per person.
The paid rates are slightly better than what Apple announced for iCloud at WWDC in early June. Apple grants 5GB free, charging $US0.99 a month for 20GB. There is no 100GB option, but at 200GB, the rate is the same as OneDrive's, at $US3.99.
The other way Microsoft wants you to look at it: If you're going to be paying for cloud storage anyway, you may as well get Office for free.
Google Drive offers similar pricing, charging $US1.99 a month for 100GB and $US9.99 for 1TB. Google also partners with Android and Chromebook manufacturers to offer customers bonus storage when they buy a device.
OneDrive's free option is now identical to Google's, which grants 15GB to every Google account holder (although Google includes email within this allotment, too). However, short videos and photos under 2,048 x 2,048 resolution captured on Android phones don't count against that total.
The big takeaway: If you already subscribe to Office, your cloud-storage needs (at least in terms of capacity) are pretty much taken care of. Then, if you download the OneDrive app to your phone and turn on automatic photo uploads, you won't have to worry about ever losing a photo or running out of space.
OneDrive's price dive further puts the crunch on third-party services such as Dropbox and Box, both of which charge higher rates than the major tech companies. Those services generally offer more business-friendly features, though, such as collaboration tools and single sign-on.
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