In a move that will likely surprise no one, popular remote access tool maker Logmein, announced today that it will stop offering a free remote access tool. All users running Logmein Free options on mobile and desktop tools will receive a notification that they’ll have to upgrade to the “Pro” version or lose access within 7 days. Naturally, Logmein puts a spin on this, mentioning that they’ve offered the free product for 10 years, but many users are angry.
It seems clear that the last effort to convert users away from the free product was a complete failure. I’m sure lots of people found ways around the limitations Logmein imposed while avoiding having to pay a company that appears to betray them. Based on Logmein’s current actions, it seems clear that CEO Michael Simon wanted to go paid-only from the beginning, and used the 10 -machine limitation as a stopgap. Ironically, Logmein used the following language the previous time they choked off free users:
“LogMeIn Free is and will remain free”
While technically not mentioning a free product timeframe, there sure is a connotation of “Don’t worry, we’re here for you”. They could have made it clear in March that they wouldn’t even last the year with a free offering, but they chose not to.
If I recall, the last transition window was 20 days or more, and now we’re left with a 7-day transition window (from the first login). Just as the limiting to 10 machines, this should cause significant enough pain for IT administrators, to completely walk away from the product. Not the best way to gain traction in a highly competitive remote access market.
My sense is that we’ll look back at this bungled transition as a model for how NOT to treat users, paid or otherwise. Logmein will likely need to create something earth-shattering to earn back the trust they’ve lost over the last year. One question remains: If Logmein we to have told you 10 years ago they’d decommission the free product, would you have signed up?
1. It has been uncovered on Reddit that some “long time” users are getting a 6-month grace period. I haven’t seen an account with more than a 7-day window, but expect it might be possible with my oldest.
2. Logmein has clarified the 6 month Pro account extension. This is given to users of the Ignition Mobile product.
3. Some IT professionals are also angry and disappointed over the price of Logmein – raising the prices of products like Central. Coupled with the practice of automatic credit card charges (without notification); this is causing serious headaches for users.
5. CrossLoop, another free remote access option, was shut down completely (and unexpectedly) by the new owner AVG.