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Get 15GB Cloud Storage Free from Microsoft; 1TB for Office 365

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Microsoft is drastically expanding the amount of cloud storage available to both its OneDrive users (formerly SkyDrive), and Office 365 software suite: from 7GB to 15GB, and from 25GB to 1TB respectively.

The changes are likely made to increase awareness of Office 365, and slated to take effect some time next month (today 5 August). If you want to synchronize data across multiple devices for free, this is a great opportunity to experiment with cloud-based storage. Typical usage includes data backup and sharing documents or pictures.

Microsoft OneDrive is available to the general public (for free), so long as you have a Microsoft Live account. On the other hand, Office 365 is a subscription-based software package, which is essentially a mobile version of Microsoft Office.

Office 365 1TB Storage Increase to Compete with Google

The increase in storage for Office 365 could have a dramatic impact on the number of people subscribing to Office 365, a web-based software package that adds cloud integration to Microsoft’s traditional Office suite. Like the standard Office package, Office 365 offers users access to business programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. One major difference is that files created using Office 365 are automatically backed up to Microsoft’s cloud storage service, OneDrive.

Now, Office 365 Home users who typically pay $9.99 per month for their subscription will get 1TB per person, with up to five people being able to create their own accounts. The deal is also available to Office 365 University subscribers, who pay just $79.99 for a four-year subscription. Microsoft says current and new Office 365 users won’t need to make any changes; they’ll see their storage ceiling increase by next month.

To put the new deal into perspective, consider that users of Google’s cloud service (Google Drive) must pay just under $120 for a one-year subscription equipped with 1TB of online storage. Comparatively speaking, Office 365 subscribers are getting Office applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for free at the same price point. (Source: computerworld.com)

15GB OneDrive Storage Increase Available to General Public

Microsoft isn’t just cutting costs for Office 365 users. The Redmond, Washington-based firm is also offering OneDrive users who don’t have an Office 365 subscription 15GB of storage at no charge. The current storage limit is set at 7GB, but will increase some time in July. (Source: zdnet.com)

Microsoft Office 365 Login / OneDrive Login – How To

To access OneDrive, you first need to have a Microsoft Live account (free).

Users can then access the OneDrive free cloud storage by either visiting the OneDrive website directly or by installing the OneDrive app on their PC or mobile devices (supported are: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Xbox, and Windows Tablet).

The benefit of installing the app (even on a PC) is that it allows for seamless operation. For example: you can access OneDrive services like it was a folder on your desktop, rather than having to login to the OneDrive website in order to upload a file. You can then share the same file across multiple devices simultaneously as it will be accessible on cloud storage. You can download OneDrive for Windows Vista, 7 and 8 Microsoft’s site, and there’s also separate instructions for OneDrive for Windows 8.1.

Analysts Impressed with Microsoft’s Move

Most industry analysts say the move should increase the popularity of Office 365, leading more people to purchase subscriptions.

“Clearly, Microsoft has been pushing hard on Office 365, and if it can incentivize customers based on value, it can raise subscriptions over time,” noted Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin. Directions on Microsoft analyst Wes Miller agrees, calling the move a “big win” for Office 365 users and people interesting in purchasing Office 365 subscriptions. (Source:computerworld.com)

Still, experts say the move is less likely to hurt Google, one of Microsoft’s most significant competitors, than smaller cloud storage companies like Dropbox and Box. These firms simply don’t have the capital or market presence to compete with Microsoft if it’s going to offer users such a large amount of storage at little to no cost.

What’s Your Opinion?

Does this deal make the Office 365 software package more attractive to you, or are you just as happy using an older version of Microsoft Office (or perhaps an alternative office suite)? Do you currently use Office 365, and if so, how do you think it compares to previous versions of Microsoft Office? Do you think cloud storage is an imperative feature for office suites in today’s market, or do you think Microsoft is simply following Google’s lead? Have you tried using Microsoft OneDrive to synchronize data across multiple devices? If so, what was your experience?

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