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Amid all the fresh interest in Apple’s iCloud cloud-storage option following the company’s rollout of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Microsoft doesn’t want you to forget about its cloud-storage service, OneDrive. Late yesterday the company announced a promotion that bumps up OneDrive’s free storage tier — and not only for iPhone users, but for Android and Windows Phone owners as well.
Douglas Pearce, group program manager for OneDrive, walked people through the offer and its implications in a blog post:
All you have to do is sign up for OneDrive and activate the auto upload feature for your camera roll sometime between now and the end of September, and you will get 30 GB of free OneDrive storage moving forward (15 GB base and 15 GB camera roll bonus). For those getting ready to install iOS8, this means you won’t have to delete a bunch of photos or apps to make room for the upgrade. For those buying a new phone, it means you can take all the high resolution photos and videos you want without worrying about the amount of storage you have.
The storage increase also applies out to iPhone owners who already send their pictures to OneDrive, Pearce wrote.
Microsoft can make such moves quickly and defend itself in the cloud-storage business because it operates data centers and buys storage at scale. Companies like Google and Amazon can do so as well, and now that its Zocalo file-sharing service is available, it’s reasonable to expect price cuts, storage boosts, and other teasers from Amazon in the future. Box and Dropbox, which are still privately owned, have been making driving up storage capacity as well, but they’re just not as large as Microsoft.
Apple, for its part, boasted of 300 million iCloud users in June 2013, and that number has probably increased since then. And Apple is also depending heavily on more of its own infrastructure, like an in-house content-distribution network. So Apple can likely buy the infrastructure at scale and, as a result, potentially lower prices and increase storage supplies for customers. But Microsoft and others have a more extensive history there.
In the light of Apple’s iCloud price cut this month, it’s worth keeping an eye on Apple to see if it becomes even more aggressive in challenging Microsoft and others in the cloud-storage business in the future.
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