A lot of folks are pissed today that Google has killed free apps, saying it’s a “cash grab” by Google. On the other hand, I’m happy to see the free service going away.
Well, perhaps not happy, but it doesn’t bother me a bit. As I said on ReadWriteWeb last year, services and software that have no revenue make me nervous as a user. True, Google has plenty of other revenue sources, but if you’re not paying for your email, etc., that means you’re the product – not the customer. I’m not really a big fan of this model, and I’d like to see more companies setting reasonable pricing models for services rather than using their users as the product for ad-driven models.
The idea that Google is “bleeding” businesses or making a “cash grab” by, you know, charging for services at all speaks a bit of an entitlement mindset. Google doesn’t owe businesses, small or otherwise, a free email or apps service. (If Google was setting a horrendously expensive fee per user, I might see some room for upset – but $50 a user per year is not ridiculous compared to the costs of hosting and maintaining a decent email service - which Gmail is, despite some of the UI changes over the last year.)
If you’re a small business owner and offended by this, head over to Fastmail.fm or another service and vote with your wallet.