The COO of LogMeIn has defended the company's decision to give users of the free version of its remote access software just seven days to move to a $49 per year option, arguing that the software has become the "main business tool" for many users.
Addressing press in Sydney on Wednesday, LogMeIn COO William Wagner admitted the change in pricing had upset many people, but was adamant it was the right move.
“The casual users - who used it to to support their mum’s PC - were upset," he said. "However, there were also tens of thousands of users who were supporting 50 or 100 computers. For these guys there is an economic gain to use our product and paying $49 a year wasn’t too much to ask."
The company experienced a backlash on social media as a result of its decision.
“The day we did it, we had a board meeting and we were all checking our phones and our Twitter feed was lighting up," Wagner said.
But customers using the product to resell value-added services were glad to pay, he said.
“The reaction we had was pretty much what we expected. The IT people said ‘we’ve been managing 500 computers [using your product] and we haven’t paid you a dime'. People who weren’t paying us took their money elsewhere," he said.
“We did get a lot of calls but there were also a lot of people who said it was about time, because they had been building their business on the back of this."
For users who don’t want to pay, Wagner pointed out that the company’s JoinMe product provides remote access and is still available at no cost.
“Our biggest free product is still JoinMe. If you want a free product that does support, our JoinMe product is better - you can do remote support on JoinMe and it remains free,” he said.
Wagner expects future growth to come from managing the internet of things - he cited one example of a Boston customer using the company’s products to monitor refrigeration units that store enzymes.
“Right now they have to send a tech [person] out each week to write down the inventory and check the fridge to see if it is working. We can automate all of that. It doesn’t just mean they save on costs, they can also deploy more refrigeration units - that is the exciting part,” he said.
“It means you can deploy more vending machines or elevators because your infrastructure costs are so much lower."