In a surprise move, Amazon on Thursday announced that it is discontinuing free Cloud Drive storage and replacing the gigabyte tiered storage plans with two paid unlimited plans.
The company has introduced two unlimited plans – Unlimited Photos Plan ($11.99/ year) and Unlimited Everything Plan ($59.99/ year).
While the unlimited plans are great and far better than what any of the Amazon competitors (Google, Dropbox or Microsoft) offer, but the decision to remove the free tier is baffling. All the popular cloud storage providers provide a free storage solution and even give a decent amount of storage like 15GB in OneDrive or Google Drive or 2GB + incentives in Dropbox.
Amazon has not provided any reasoning behind this move and the company’s help page just states the following.
“The 5 GB free tier is no longer available. You will not be able to upload content until you select one of the free trials for the new unlimited plans. If you don’t select one of the free trials, you will be moved into an over-quota state and will not be able to upload new files until you select one of the new unlimited free trials.”
Coming to the new unlimited storage plans, the photo plans allows you to upload as many images you want plus you also get 5GB of storage for videos and other files. The Unlimited Everything plan is pretty straightforward, upload any and everything and as much of it you want.
“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up. With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place,” said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive.