It may not be a flood, but it’s definitely a trickle. More software vendors are paring back “free” or freemium offerings. This week it’s LogMeIn curtailing the free version of LogMeIn remote access. The more feature-rich paid “Pro” version is still available and supported, a spokesman said.
In December, Sugarsync announced plans to pull free storage and file syncing (check out the comments on this story to see how that went over.) Droplr followed suit in January. Mailstrom, the software that cleans out your inbox, is also moving to an all-paid subscription model. Most of these vendors continue to offer a limited-time free trial period.
For Boston-based LogMeIn, the rationale is that remote access is a mature market — there’s no need to seed it any more with free accounts. It’s unclear how many users this will affect. The company will continue to offer freemium versions of its Join.me web conferencing; Cubby file sync-and-store and Hamachi networking services.
This LogMeIn blog post explains the rationale with the gist being users of the free product will be migrated off of it starting this month.
Please note that once you log into your account there is a seven day window to upgrade. Subscriptions will include LogMeIn’s signature remote access to two or more computers, premium mobile apps for Android and iOS, and native Mac and Windows desktop apps. Additionally, all users who purchase a subscription to LogMeIn Pro will be upgraded to a premium remote access experience, with capabilities that include integration with popular cloud sync and share products like Cubby, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and SkyDrive, the ability to manage and transfer cloud and local files, remote printing and more.
Here are FAQs on the move.
The long and short of it is those who were using the free service will either have to move on or start paying $99 per year for access to two computers (pricing plans below.)
For web-age users who grew up using a patchwork of free services, this trend is bound to be unsettling. But it’s increasingly clear that free can’t last forever — well maybe for Dropbox with its $250 million war chest can, but that’s an outlier. How a given vendor handles the transition will determine how many of those legacy users will stay put or go searching for new free alternatives.
But really, at some point, you do get what you pay for.