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Google has announced one terabyte of free Drive storage to every customer who buys a Chromebook, rated at around $240 (£153).
The move is the latest in a long, long series of price cuts, bluffs and double bluffs from the main cloud infrastructure players to make users part with their cash.
Describing it as “a bonus for the holiday season” Alex Vogenthaler, Google Drive group product manager, wrote in a blog post: “That’s enough space to keep more than 100,000 awkward holiday sweater pics safe and shareable in Drive.
“With that much free storage, you can use your Chromebook for work, play and pretty much everything else you’ll do this holiday season,” he added.
It is a holiday offer only – any claims must be redeemed before January 1. But let’s go through the most recent acts of this play.
Microsoft has been the clear aggressor in this market, offering unlimited OneDrive cloud storage to its Office 365 user base last month. In June, it opened up a free terabyte to those same customers. Yet if users prefer to use Dropbox from their Office accounts they can do, after the two firms announced an alliance earlier this month.
Compare and contrast with standalone storage provider Bitcasa, which ditched its $10 a month unlimited plan. This publication mused on the matter and concluded that in the face of such huge competition, Bitcasa may be right in putting up its guard and offering a niche, although as one commenter pointed out, raising question marks about its ethics in the process. Meanwhile, Box is still pushing on with its unlimited storage plans for business users, unveiled back in July.
So who’s right? Well, it’s probably AWS. If in doubt, say AWS. The firm has a huge lead in the cloud infrastructure market, according to the latest figures from Synergy Research. A recent Storagebod column from The Register also made this point, explaining: “It seems to me that if the traditional storage vendors really want to compete with the cloud vendors, they need to change their sales model completely.”
Microsoft has marked out a foothold in second place, yet its most recent outage last week had Synergy Research chief analyst John Dinsdale telling CloudTech Redmond’s response was “an awful lot less than stellar.” Points off for that, although the commenter community was indecisive, with remarks ranging from “terrible” to “much ado about nothing.”
As cloud storage has become a less valuable commodity, the larger vendors are looking to provide one size fits all solutions. This threat to the traditional cloud storage providers is noted – take collaboration tool Box Notes as a perfect example of expanding the empire.
The reality though is if you’re sold on one particular office product, then storage is hardly going to seal the deal. With this festive feast, Google is simply keeping up appearances.