Citrix Gets on the Freemium Bandwagon - Launches Free Version of GoToMeeting
Apr 08, 2014
Citrix has launched a free scaled back version of its online meeting service, GoToMeeting, called GoToMeeting Free. This follows the launch of GoToMeeting Essentials in Q4 2013, which is a lower priced version of GoToMeeting allowing 6 participants to join a meeting at $19/month.
Freemium services have become an established business model in the fast growing and intensely competitive online meetings and web conferencing space. Cisco, Adobe, FuzeBox, LogMeIn (join.me), among others, offer freemium versions of their service. Presumably driven by competitive pressures and to widen its user base, Citrix is launching GoToMeeting Free to offer free, unlimited-use video conferencing for up to three people. It is currently available on Chrome browser (Firefox is next).
There is a big difference, however, between GoToMeeting Free and other freemium online meeting services in the market. GoToMeeting Free is a WebRTC based audio video conferencing tool that requires no software downloads or plug-ins and is therefore easy to launch and use. Emerging from an internal Citrix Innovation Lab project called Hutt, it is primarily targeted at users that want to have adhoc simple video sync-ups and not necessarily looking for deeper feature sets yet. It does not allow screen sharing which comes as a surprise, since GoToMeeting is primarily known for screen sharing/web conferencing. Citrix will look at adding that functionality at a later point if required. Like any other freemium service, Citrix is targeting users that it hopes will eventually convert to its paid-for services after initial exposure and use.
There has been no dearth of free or low-priced basic meeting tools which have saturated the low end of the market. The battle to grab users in the SMB space is fully on and is leading to growing price-based competition. While all Services have a standard free 30-day trial, a "free perpetual" offering is more attractive to users. GoToMeeting Free does not require an email sign up either. This move from Citrix is going to add fuel to WebRTC-based communications and will draw users that are looking for instantaneous and simple communications over rich functionality.
GoToMeeting has been growing at a good pace consistently beating the industry growth. However, the threat from "industry disruptors" has loomed large, be it Hangouts or Skype or providers like join.me and Zoom. Citrix has been tackling these threats consistently and is willing to disrupt itself to continue growing.
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