Quick Bit: Google has reportedly begun informing some small business owners that they will soon have to pay to continue to use their email and other apps after a decade of free use. One small business owner says, “They’re basically strong-arming us to switch to something paid after they got us hooked on this free service.”

Full Story:

The New York Times reports that Google informed small businesses earlier this year that they would no longer be able to use a customized email service and other workplace apps for free. For many business owners, this felt like a betrayal after years of using Google’s products.

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The NYT spoke to one business owner, Richard J. Dalton Jr., who operates a scholastic test-prep company in Vancouver, British Columbia. Dalton set up a Google work email for his business, Your Score Booster, in 2008, and now says: “They’re basically strong-arming us to switch to something paid after they got us hooked on this free service.”

Google has said that users of its G Suite legacy free edition, which provides access to apps such as email, Docs, and Calendar, will have to start paying a monthly charge of approximately $6 for each business email address. If a business does not voluntarily switch to a paid service by June 27, it will be automatically moved to one. If they don’t pay by August 1, their account will be suspended.

Small business owners say the price of the service is not the issue, but Google’s handling of the situation. Patrick Gant, the owner of Think It Creative, a marketing consultancy firm in Ottawa, commented: “It struck me as needlessly petty. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who received something for free for a long time and now are being told that they need to pay for it. But there was a promise that was made. That’s what compelled me to make the decision to go with Google versus other alternatives.”

However, while some business owners have considered switching to a Google alternative, they say the company’s communication on the issue has been extremely poor. Samad Sajanlal, the owner of Supreme Equipment Company, which provides software consulting and other tech services in McKinney, Texas, commented: “I don’t mind you kicking us off. But don’t give us an unrealistic deadline to go and find an alternative while you’re still deciding if you really want to kick us off in the first place.”

Read more at the New York Times here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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