Microsoft plans changes to Office 365 targeted at SharePoint Online users

Office 365 customers will be able to store larger and more diverse files on the suite's cloud collaboration server

To prevent SharePoint Online customers from feeling boxed in, Microsoft wants to improve the way they upload and store documents in the cloud collaboration server.

Over the coming weeks, Microsoft will roll out a set of changes to Office 365 targeted at SharePoint Online users, including increasing from 250MB to 2GB the size of files that people can upload to their individual SkyDrive Pro repositories and to SharePoint Online team site document libraries, the company said on Thursday in a blog post.

The enhancements are in response to companies' increased use of Office 365, according to the blog post's author, Mark Kashman. "Users are uploading more documents to SkyDrive Pro, teams are building numerous team sites to work with internal teams as well as with external customers and partners, and companies are establishing their corporate intranet sites," he wrote.

In addition to lifting the size limit on individual uploads, Microsoft has expanded the types of files that can be uploaded by adding .exe and .dll files.

Another change will be to increase from 3,000 to 10,000 the number of site collections -- groups of websites organized hierarchically -- that an Office 365 Enterprise customer can create. This improvement will not be applied to Office 365 Small Business and Midsize Business customers.

Microsoft is also prolonging the time that discarded documents remain in SharePoint Online recycle bins from 30 days to 90 days to give users more chance to recover these items. In addition, retaining multiple versions of Office 365 documents will be on by default on newly created SkyDrive Pro libraries.

Thursday's announcement comes shortly after Microsoft increased SkyDrive Pro storage from 7GB to 25GB and doubled the size of Exchange Online mailboxes to 50GB.

Microsoft is in a dogfight with Google, as Office 365 and Google Apps battle for customers large and small that are looking to move their email, calendaring, office apps and other collaboration and productivity tools to a vendor-hosted public cloud service.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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