A number of businesses have hit out at plans at Google to close off the free version of its legacy G Suite product.
As reported by the New York Times, multiple business owners are displeased, quite naturally, with Google’s attempts to funnel them towards paid Google Workspace packages (which start at $6 or £5 per user/per month).
The largest source of frustration, however, is the way Google has navigated the policy shift, giving already cash-strapped businesses a short runway in which to make a decision on whether to stick or twist.
Goodbye, G Suite
Google first announced that it would revoke free access to its productivity and collaboration software for all legacy G Suite customers in January this year. The backlash that followed was surely no surprise.
Ultimately, Google agreed to allow people running old G Suite accounts for personal purposes to continue to use its software free of charge, but made no such dispensation for businesses.
After pushing back the original May 1 deadline, Google will now automatically shift businesses to a paid Google Workspace subscription on June 27. Those that refuse to pay the bill will have their accounts suspended on August 1.
The move is part of an effort to squeeze more value out of the products it already provides, amid rising energy and hardware costs associated with running the large-scale data centers on which its services are built. An eminently sensible objective, from a purely economic perspective.
However, the policy change appears to have left some customers feeling aggrieved; they claim Google lured them in with free services, on which they are now dependent, and has failed to take into account the financial pressures they face in the current climate.
“It struck me as needlessly petty,” said one business owner. “It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who received something for free for a long time and now is being told that they need to pay for it, but there was a promise made. That’s what compelled me to make the decision to go with Google.”
“It was less about the amount they’re charging and more about the fact they changed the rules,” explained another. “They could change the rules again at any time.”
For its part, Google has insisted it remains committed to delivering on the needs of its customers and gestured towards the twelve-month discounts available to businesses forced to make the switch.
“We’re here to help our customers with this transition, including deep discounts on Google Workspace subscriptions. Moving to a Google Workspace subscription can be done in a few clicks,” said spokesperson Katie Wattie.
Via New York Times