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Cloud storage firm SugarSync has switched to a paid-only model, removing the option for users to sign up to the service free of charge and forcing members currently on free plans to upgrade or leave the service.
The change, a significant one for a firm that boasts high-profile clients such as Lenovo, SanDisk and US chain Best Buy, was prompted by the dominance of rival "freemium" offerings, according to chief executive Mike Grossman. "There are many companies in this space that are giving away free storage, however, most of these companies will not be viable," he claimed. "We are already in a solid financial position and this shift will further strengthen our business."
He added that with a cashflow boost, his company would be more motivated to create new features for its business and consumer subscribers. The company will switch to its new model on 8 February 2014, with 30 and 90-day free trials available.
The cloud storage space has become increasingly competitive in recent years, with firms such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive all offering generous free packages for individuals. The firms make their money back on major enterprise contracts, with Microsoft and Google in particular bundling their cloud storage services in with other packages such as Google Apps and Office 365.
Box, meanwhile, has begun to build added layers of complexity on top of its basic cloud storage, introducing features such as Box Notes and Metadata to allow clients to use Box files in business processes such as app development.
SugarSync offers enterprise-level features including remote wipe, allowing admins to delete data from any device that is connected to the internet, as well as compatibility with a vast array of mobile devices. Grossman said the company would be offering an expanded set of features in the coming year.