Microsoft apologizes for confusing OneDrive strategy

OneDrive for Business gets unlimited storage tier for some

Microsoft issued an apology to OneDrive customers for its recent missteps. The company acknowledged that it did not provide enough transparency in its storage strategy, especially for business customers.

"Overall, we have taken too long to provide an update on our storage plans around OneDrive for Business," said Jeff Taper, Corporate Vice President for OneDrive and SharePoint, in a statement. "We also recognize we are disappointing customers who expected unlimited storage across every Office 365 plan, and I want to apologize for not meeting your expectations."

As part of its apology, Microsoft announced that unlimited storage will come to OneDrive for Business users on select Office 365 Enterprise, Government and Education plans.

Unlimited for business

Compatible Office 365 plans that will receive the unlimited storage upgrade are for enterprise, government or education with five or more users.

Unfortunately, the rollout is staggered, and unlimited storage is not automatic. Starting this month, Microsoft will begin increasing OneDrive storage capacity from 1TB to 5TB for all users, and the process will complete in March 2016. Users who need more than 5TB of storage will have to submit a request to Microsoft support, Taper advised.

In order to be upgraded to the 5TB OneDrive storage capacity with the option to go unlimited, users must be subscribed to an Office 365 Education or Office 365 Enterprise or Government E3, E4 or E5 plans. Additionally, OneDrive for Business Plan 2 and SharePoint Plan 2 customers will also get the boosted storage.

"Customers on all other Office 365 Enterprise, Business and standalone plans that include OneDrive for Business will continue to receive 1 TB of storage per user," said Taper.

Taper also apologized for not giving a clearer storage roadmap to OneDrive for Business customers sooner.

New sync client

Microsoft is also rolling out a new sync client for OneDrive for Business. The OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is now out of beta and is available for download. The Windows client, available for Windows 7, 8 and 10, is available immediately, and Mac support will be coming at the end of December. Support for Windows 8.1 won't arrive until the first quarter of next year.

The Next Generation Sync Client delivers a more reliable sync experience, as well as some notable new features. The client supports large files, up to 10GB in size, and removes the 20,000 file sync limit. Additionally, it also supports selective sync.

At release, the Next Generation Sync Client will only support OneDrive for Business, but Microsoft promises that the client will also support SharePoint document libraries in future releases.

Additionally, Microsoft also updated the mobile clients for Windows 10 Mobile, Android and iOS. Windows 10 Mobile owners can now view, edit, create, share and upload files using the OneDrive client to their personal or OneDrive for Business accounts.

And similar to OneDrive for Android, OneDrive for iOS will be updated this month to include offline capabilities. Users can make select files available for offline viewing, and this capability will also come to Windows 10 Mobile in the second quarter of next year.

Finally, Office Lens for iOS now integrates with OneDrive for Business. Office Lens is a mobile scanner that automatically crops and trims digitized scans before uploading the files to your OneDrive account. OneDrive for Business support will come to the Office Lens app for Android and Windows 10 Mobile in 2016.