OneDrive, and how Microsoft is losing the plot

Over the last year or so, Microsoft has done some great things with it’s OneDrive solution.  For the novice, OneDrive is cloud-based storage solution, much like iCloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive.  Since it has the  backing of Microsoft, and it is starting to have quite a big business push, it was really a good deal for me to signup for the Office 365 solution for $12AUD p/m, that includes 5 accounts, with Microsoft Office, and 1TB of storage each.  Of all the cloud solutions, Onedrive still offers the best $/GB out there.

But like all good things, there are also the things that are causing problems.

Microsoft decided that they wanted to offer unlimited storage.  With the cost reduction of hard drives these days, it is really becoming so cheap to store GBs of data.  So obviously the team at Microsoft thought it was a great idea to offer this.  Now as any one knows, there is no such thing as “unlimited”, and Microsoft discovered that some individuals were abusing that right.  Now while I might agree that storing 75TB (yes, 75 Tera Bytes) of data in OneDrive can be considered as abuse, I will come back to the statement of unlimited – You can not claim to offer unlimited storage, and then get offended when some users actually take you up on that.  Seriously, it doesn’t work that way.

Nonetheless, they are the provider, and they need to do what they feel is necessary to manage their infrastructure.

Then came Windows 10.  Like most of Microsoft’s endeavors, Windows 10 is going to be the greatest and best operating system yet.  And on top of that, Microsoft decided to change the OneDrive client.  In Windows 8.1, we had this thing called “placeholders” or “smart files”.  What this is, it would allow you to seamlessly see all of your OneDrive storage, both the files that are local on your computer, and the ones that are stored in the cloud.  So let me clear this up… Since I only have 128GB on my Surface Pro 3, and I have 1TB of storage on my OneDrive, I would like to at least have access to all the files, but I don’t want all of those files synced on my computer, because I just don’t have the space.

But no, Microsoft decided that “selective sync” is the better way to go.  That immediately caused a huge problem for many users, including myself.  I can not selectively sync my files.  There are cases where I need to access the stuff in my OneDrive without having to use the slow web interface. I also do not want to download gigabytes of data to my surface every time I need to access a folder.

After 5 months (yes, 5 months), Microsoft has not provided any response yet.  The OneDrive UserVoice forum has had over 16,000 votes, and more than 600 comments, asking, pleading, and begging Microsoft to bring it back, but there is silence.  The program director has just said that they are “thinking about it” (and this was on the 24th of July 2015).

Further, there is a OneDrive Facebook group, that typically responds within a few hours, yet when you ask them for any update on placeholders, they simply ignore their paying customers.  Similarly, their twitter handle @OneDrive also goes unanswered.

I can understand that the team at OneDrive wants to merge their consumer and business clients.  I get that.  What I don’t get, is how they can take functionality that was working perfectly in Windows 8.1, that we depend and rely on, and then simply decide to remove from Windows 10.  So they removed it, but then why stay quiet… Why is the program director not at least responding, and giving an update on when we can expect it.  Why is OneDrive not at least responding on their Facebook page on when we can expect to get this feature back?

This is really bad from a customer service and an expectation management perspective.  I really hope Microsoft get their act together, quickly.

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