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Logmein Delivers Knockout Blow To Its Free Users

In a rather low-key blog post this morning, Logmein outlined more changes to its free product offering. Chief among those changes is this passage:

“we will be limiting the number of computers a user can access free of charge to 10”

That’s right, Logmein will now limit the number of computers you can access free, to 10. To gain access to more than 10 computers, you’ll need to pay $199.00 or more for Logmein Central.  This, I feel, will effectively render the free tool useless for anyone other than a home enthusiast or perhaps anyone with a few computers that need remote access. What tends to happen over time is that users upgrade computers and leave older items inside Logmein’s console – this will likely count against your allotment of 10. Don’t expect them to be forgiving about this limit. 

And, let’s face it, we don’t really have the right to complain. The product has been free for a number of years and provided home and small business users with meaningful and useful remote access features. The idea of remote access is not new, and Logmein has generally improved the landscape of tools. There is a dark side to this notion of free, and today’s announcement is about as bad as it can get. For those with accounts exceeding 10 computers, a mad scramble will begin to ensure remote access is maintained.

And, over the years, you’ll recall they removed the important and useful feature called Desktop Shortcut, causing quite a bit of pain. If you’ve paid for Logmein services, you also know that they, rather brazenly make future renews opt-out. The history of Logmein’s services is riddled with testing the very core trust needed to keep users happy. Some have said this kind of thing is inevitable with the freemium model. Indeed, it may be true.

That said, it’s time to move on.  Now is the time to look for other alternatives (of which there are a few). Logmein has squandered most of its goodwill towards users, and this should be the final straw for those that look to the company for remote access solutions. You can no longer trust them. For a company and product, I have promoted and brought revenue to, this will stop.

Over the next little while, I too will be looking for useful alternatives and will provide more details on what I’ve found. LogMeIn can reverse this oncoming wave of user defection by removing this limit and making clear what they intend to keep free, and what they intend to keep paid. Regardless, you can’t trust them.

Some Updates:

1. Based on posts in the related Logmein Community, you should be able to get out of this 10 computer limit by having at least one computer with a “Pro” license.  The following is a message left by a moderator:

“If you currently have subscriptions of LogMeIn Pro within your account, at this time you will have the ability to have more than 10 free computers within your account.”

It’s probably important to point out “at this time” means that you’ll lose it eventually.

As it turns out, that statement was incorrect, having a “Pro” license will not allow you access to more than 10 computers. This apparently from Christopher Willhite:

“It is in fact required to purchase Central to be able to maintain more than 10 Free computers in your account.  If you were interested in purchasing subscriptions of Pro in addition to Central…”

2. One clear workaround appears to be just creating multiple accounts. It will be interesting if Logmein starts enforcing something absurd on that level.

3. In an interesting move, a commenter named RDATech on page 14 of the forum posted a link to one of Logmein’s competitors (Teamviewer) and a moderator edited the comment deleting the link.