Self-Immolation A Feature Of The New Microsoft
Oh Microsoft, you make it ever so hard to like you when your forward planning is so terribly off the cuff. The latest piece of evidence: the OneDrive saga.
To recap. In November Microsoft advised customers that it was cutting back on the storage that they received for both paid and free accounts. Office 365 subscribers would lose unlimited storage and revert to 1TB of included storage, whilst free users would see their storage drop from15GB to 5GB, and if they were using the 15GB camera roll free allowance that was disappearing completely.
Allegedly this was a result of some users making use of the unlimited storage tier in a way that Microsoft hadn't envisaged. Which went exactly no way to explaining the free tier restrictions.
Now Microsoft has performed a volte face, restoring the free storage for existing users (who have to claim it) and adding a 12 month grace period for Office 365 subscribers who have more than 1TB stored.
Which questions the intelligence of those at Microsoft who wrought the changes. Were they really expecting users to accept such swingeing cuts without a backlash? Their understanding of their customers and customer relationship was so weak that they were forced to start backtracking within weeks. That cannot be good for business.
This could have been handled so much better.
If Microsoft had decided to remove the unlimited storage tier at twelve months from the next subscription renewal for users over the cap they'd be exactly where they are today. If they had also reduced the free storage and killed the camera roll offering for new users they would also be in the same place as they are today.
What they wouldn't have done is upset paying customers, potential paying customers and raised a media storm in the process. Chances are that explaining the reasons for these changes would even have got them some sympathy, because users with 75TB stored in the cloud are definitely extracting the Michael.
Instead consumer trust in Microsoft's husbandry of OneDrive is at an all time low.
Worse still, it follows a pattern of mistakes which demonstrate a gulf between Microsoft and even it's most loyal customers. The Xbox One launch that delivered features that Microsoft's customers didn't want and drove gamers into Sony's hands; the Windows 10 launch that removed key features from OneDrive, OneNote and for Surface users; replacing the excellent Zune Music service with the decidedly less capable Groove Music...
Despite the change of leadership Microsoft hasn't changed the way it deals with its customers. Throwing them under the bus each time you make a change doesn't breed customer loyalty.
It doesn't seem like a hard lesson to learn.