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LogMeIn pulls plug on free remote access; rage ensues

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 23, 2014
Angry users of LogMeIn's free remote access service are lashing out at the company for giving them what amounts to a week's warning that their plugs would be pulled.

Angry users of LogMeIn's free remote access service lashed out Tuesday at the company for giving them what amounted to a week's warning that their plugs would be pulled.

Not surprising, virtually all of the several hundred commenters bewailed the demise of the free service. But most saved their most caustic comments for the quick shut-off of LogMeIn's free service.

"It's hard to make a shorter notice than that," wrote someone identified only as e1000 on LogMeIn's discussion forum. "This shows no consideration to your customer base. I'll think twice before going for paid service."

"If they'd given us a reasonable amount of notice I would probably have taken the easy option and paid up," added matteustace on the same thread, which had grown to 76 pages by the end of Tuesday.

"Thanks for giving us loads of notice to sort something else out," chimed in chandlerp.

When LogMeIn announced Tuesday that it would shutter the free remote access service — which lets people connect to as many as 10 computers for remote support, transferring files and online demonstrations — it said it was immediately halting new registrations and would require current users to pick a paid plan.

Current users will have seven days from the day they next use LogMeIn to pay up or lose the free service. The Boston-based company has sent emails to users, and will notify them of the change when they run the software on a PC, Mac or mobile device.

LogMeIn's least-expensive paid plan costs $99 annually, and allows access to only two computers, although the company is halving that fee — to $49 for the first year — to entice users into signing up.

Most of those who stormed LogMeIn's discussion groups said that they would not pay for the service, which they used only occasionally. Many said they used it to provide ad hoc tech support to friends and especially far-flung family members who were less technically astute.

Readers of Computerworld and other technology websites know all too well that they are often pressed into helping others who know that they work in IT or are at least more familiar with the intricacies of Windows, OS X and other operating systems than are they.

"I'll set off now to go and drive a long distance to go and install a competitor product on my parent's machine," said JC3.

"Thanks for all these years of service to help my parents with remote sessions, [but] for me [it's not] worth it to move to Pro for occasional connections," added IvanM3.

Numerous users said that they would switch to TeamViewer, a LogMeIn rival that still offers free remote access for personal use. Other alternatives include Windows' baked-in Remote Assistance, and for OS X, the $80 Apple Remote Desktop application.


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