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SugarSync to Become a Paid-Only Service

SugarSync is one of the many cloud companies available on the market that let you back up and sync your data across your computers and mobile devices. Launched in 2008, the service currently has millions of users in over 120 countries, with many high-profile companies such as Samsung, SanDisk and Best Buy making use of their offerings.

SugarSync have recently made a bold move by removing the ability to use their service for free. Previously, users could sign up and receive 5GB of storage space for the price of nothing. However, pricing plans now start at $7.49 / month or $74.99 a year for 60GB for an individual license. If so desired, users can trial the service with 5GB for 90 days, or 30 days for 60GB or more.

Considering many competitors, like Dropbox and Google Drive, still offer their free accounts, it’s an interesting change for SugarSync. Mike Grossman, CEO of SugarSync, acknowledged this, but claims that these business plans are not viable.

“There are many companies in this space that are giving away free storage, however, most of these companies will not be viable. We are already in a solid financial position and this shift will further strengthen our business,” he said. “Also, this change will allow us to better serve loyal customers and expand our service offerings. We're excited about the next stage in our growth and confident that our customers and new users alike will achieve greater value through these enhancements.”

The majority of money for these services are made in enterprise contracts or package bundling (like Google Apps and Office 365). Dropbox and Box have both recently made an increasing push for business users and this change from SugarSync seems to be heading in the same direction.

SugarSync will be changing to its new model on the 8th of February 2014, with current free users either having to pay to upgrade or leave the service. What proportion of users opt for the former option, however, will be interesting to see – and likely one competitors will be attempting to monitor.

In a digital world where a certain amount of storage space is available for free, consumers could see this change as frustrating. Indeed, users wanting to jump ship will have to move all their data over, but that should be a relatively pain-free experience. However, the message from SugarSync seems to be that they could not sustain a service that offered a free package. If you want a certain quality of service, SugarSync want you to pay for it.

SugarSync have also announced that they will be releasing redesigned apps and additional features in the coming year in order to remain in line with these changes. Further information is currently unknown, but it’s worth keeping an eye on SugarSync’s website to remain in the loop.

With SugarSync pulling out of all things free, the question remains whether this is something that will ripple through the industry. Could SkyDrive, Dropbox and Box soon become paid-only services? Only time will tell.

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