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April 29, 2014

Microsoft Plays Hardball Against Cloud Storage Competitors

Microsoft has taken aim at cloud storage competitors Dropbox and Box (News - Alert).com with the announcement that it is increasing storage on its OneDrive for Business offering from 25GB per user to 1 TB per user. The upgrade scales the amount of available cloud storage by 40-fold and is a step toward Microsoft’s (News - Alert) vision of becoming a “one-stop shop” for cloud solutions.

In a blog post sharply titled, “Thinking outside the box,” from John Case, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office division, the company announced its expanded offering. The move is clearly designed to outpace competitors like Dropbox (News - Alert) and, which offer specialized storage and services geared toward file sharing and collaboration. Incidentally, both of those companies are planning IPOs this year.

"The era of making isolated, single-solution decisions is rapidly coming to a close," writes Case. “We believe Microsoft offers the most complete solution for businesses looking to maximize their employees’ ability to create, collaborate, analyze and act – and sharing, storing and syncing are foundational to that.”

In addition to upping the amount of available user storage, Microsoft announced that all Office 365 ProPlus customers will receive 1 TB of OneDrive for Business storage per user with their subscriptions. Microsoft is also assuming a service provider role and will help customers migrate data from their existing cloud solution to OneDrive for Business. Finally, the company is offering promotional pricing in a bid to attract new customers. CEO Aaron Levie was clearly displeased by Microsoft’s announcement, and criticized the company for keeping its storage software closed in an attempt to create difficulties for users who wish to move data among different services. "By keeping Office 365 users on the closed OneDrive ‘island,’ Microsoft is stranding hundreds of millions of users and customers that have chosen Box, Dropbox, Google (News - Alert) Drive, and others," wrote Levie.

With Amazon Web Services (AWS) retaining its leadership position in the cloud storage and IaaS space and Google quickly gaining marketshare, Microsoft has been pulling out all the stops to ensure its foothold in the market. And with major cloud partnerships being announced seemingly daily, the company has a very good shot at achieving its goal of becoming a one-stop cloud shop. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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