AFTER A QUIET SUMMER the cloud storage wars could be about to hot up again after a break in the ceasefire from an unlikely source.
Apple (yes, Apple) has announced that it is to simplify the price structure for iCloud and drop some cheapness bombs into the mix with discounts of up to 50 percent.
The 5GB free option remains, but gone are the 20GB and 500GB tiers. Instead, users can choose from 50GB, 200GB and 1TB.
UK prices are £0.79 per month for 50GB, £2.49 for 200GB and £6.99 for 1TB. That means more than double the storage for 79p, the previous cost for 20GB. The 200GB option drops 50p (meh) and the 1TB option drops a full £9 from its previous £14.99.
As ever with Apple, the firm is playing catch up to its rivals (and probably claiming to have invented cheapness). Microsoft and Google have a 15GB free baseline, while Dropbox offers 2GB with incentives of extra space for anyone who 'turns' a friend or colleague.
Google's 1TB price is currently $9.99 a month, which works out at about £7.75 when you add VAT for the UK. 1TB of Dropbox costs £7.99 a month but you can bring that down with an annual payment of £79. Amazon Cloud is billed at $59.99 per year, but there's a three-month free trial (just long enough to forget you signed up), and Amazon Prime users get unlimited photo storage anyway.
Finally, Microsoft OneDrive offers 1TB for $6.99 a month, making it by far the cheapest as that price also includes Office 365.
Of course all these prices vary for business plans, and jump tremendously once you get above 1GB, plus in some cases you have to allow for exchange rates.
The Apple price drops won't have any of its rivals quaking in their boots, but it does show that the company recognises that its captive audience of users deserves to have something approaching competitive rates in the cut-throat, post-apocalyptic wasteland that is the Great Cloud Storage Wars. µ
Another week of Google news in brief
It was nice knowing you, sort of
Third time unlucky
Customers are unable to make payments or transfer money