Google sued for nixing free workspace software for early adopters

Alphabet Inc.’s Google was sued by an early adopter of its workplace cloud productivity software, which claims the company reneged on its promise to provide free access to the program for life.

Google Workplace, formerly known as Google Apps and G Suite, offers a range of services, including Gmail for content creation, Calendar, Drive for storage, and Google Docs. Some programs are free for all, but enterprise features like custom email addresses and shared disk storage incur additional costs.

Stratford Company LLC sued on behalf of all early adopters who were lured into using the software in its early stages, allowing Google to fine-tune it and then sell it for a fee. In return the Stratford company promised to offer a free version of Workspace to early adopters by the time Google introduced it.

In 2012, Google began charging new customers $12 per month to use the software. Then, in 2022, Google notified legacy users that they would also be charged, although it later excluded non-commercial users of the software.

“Google’s abandonment of the ‘don’t be evil’ principle is well illustrated in this case,” the Stratford company said in the complaint filed Friday in San Jose Federal Court. Trillion Dollars in the form breaks a promise to the loyal customers who helped Google develop a profitable product to pad its already massive profits.”

The Stratford Company is seeking class-action status for all early adopters and damages are yet to be determined during the trial, but more than $5 million.

Google did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment sent after regular business hours.

The case is The Stratford Company LLC v. Google LLC, 5:22-CV-4547, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

This story has been published without modification in text from a wire agency feed. Only the title has been changed.

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