Alphabet Inc.’s Google has been sued by an early adopter of its Workplace cloud productivity software. This software claims that the company reneged on a promise to provide it with free access to the program for life.
Google Workplace, known as Google Apps and G Suite, offers a host of services. These services include Gmail, Calendar, Drive for storage, and Google Docs for content creation. Some programs are free for everyone, but business features, such as custom email addresses and shared Drive storage, cost more.
Stratford Company LLC sued on behalf of all early adopters who lure to use the software in its early stages. It allows Google to adjust it and then sell it for a fee. In return, Stratford Company said early adopters promises a free version of Workspace as long as Google offered it.
In 2012, Google began charging new customers $12 a month for using the software. Then, in 2022, Google notified legacy users that they would also be charged. Though it later excluded non-commercial users from the software.
“Google’s abandonment of the ‘don’t be evil’ creed is well illustrated in this case.” Stratford Company said this in the lawsuit, filed Friday in San Jose federal court. “Google, as the best part of a conglomerate two trillion dollars. It breaks a promise to loyal customers who helped Google develop a profitable product, to increase its already huge profits.”
The Stratford Company is seeking class-action status for all early adopters and damages to be determined at 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, United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose.
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