Google is facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit after allegedly going back on its promise to provide lifetime access to its early Workspace subscriptions free of charge.
The Stratford Company LLC, acting on behalf of early adopters, is suing Google parent company Alphabet for a sum of more than $5 million for ‘luring’ early Workspace adopters to use its services during the initial testing stages in return for free lifelong access.
Initially known as Google Apps, then G Suite, Google Workspace includes many of the free services with which we are familiar today, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, as well as paid extras like cloud storage via Google Drive and custom email domain support.
Google Workspace slammed
Google started charging customers $12 per month for the premium version of its business-oriented suite in 2012. However, earlier this year, the tech giant told its early adopters (to whom it had promised free access for as long as the services are offered), known as ‘legacy’ users, that they would soon be charged to use the services, too.
Part of the complaint, filed in a San Jose federal court, reads: “Google’s abandonment of the credo ‘don’t be evil’ is well-illustrated in this case.”
“Google, as the better part of a conglomerate worth nearly two trillion dollars, breaks a promise to loyal customers who helped Google develop a profitable product, in order to pad its already grossly outsized profits,” it adds.
The firm is seeking class-action status for the users it represents. Damages are to be determined at trial, but it is thought that the sum will amount to more than $5 million (more than £4.1 million).
The case at hand is: Google LLC v. The Stratford Company LLC, 5:22-cv-4547, US District Court, Northern District of California.