For a long time, LogMeIn Free has been one of my favourite remote control solutions. It’s easy to set-up and easy to use. I even bought the app, both for Android and iPhone that allowed me to help my dad, kids and a few friends to solve technical issues remotely, sometimes even while having dinner at the restaurant thanks to the Ignition app that ties into the list of remote computers.
Recently the company announced it would no longer be providing the free service and, as of January 21 2014, the free service was discontinued.
I completely understand the move, as a company you can’t keep providing a free service when that service costs you money. It made perfect sense to offer the reduced-functionality free service when LogMeIn was a nobody startup in Budapest, but now that they have achieved some recognition, they surely want to monetize the free users.
Let’s face some facts, though:
1. A casual user of the free service, who just uses it a few times a year to help an aging parent out of a jam will never pay $69.95 a year per computer for the privilege.
2. Those users who didn’t want to move to the “Pro” version because they didn’t need any advanced features, won’t suddenly need the advanced features.
3. Users like me who bought the $30 mobile app to have on-the-go access to the computers on the LogMeIn Free list will not be motivated by the 10 dollar incentive to the price. (I actually paid $30 for the iPhone app, then another $30 for the Android app when I switched phones)
When LogMeIn reduced the Free version of the service to 10 computers or less, I totally understood that move too. If you regularly need to remote control that many computers, you need a more robust solution anyway.
I just don’t see LogMeIn winning a lot of customers with this move, though clearly they will cut whatever costs are associated with the free service. And as an added bonus, Ignition purchasers like myself feel cheated by LogMeIn and likely won’t do business with them just on principle, since no one likes to be burned twice by an unethical corporation.
I suspect losing tons of beta-testers will also have some long term repercussions, reducing the overall quality of the software and reputation of the brand. Remember pcAnywhere? Me neither…
I wish them the best of luck, but I’ll be sure to check in with LogMeIn in a few years to see how they’re doing.
I think I already know.
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