CEO says restrictions on free tier of note-taking service and price rises for paying users are to fund improving Evernote in the long term
Evernote, the note-taking service, is facing a user backlash after restricting the number of features available to free accounts.
The companys Evernote Basic tier, which offers free access to the software, will now only be able to sync across two devices. For most people, this will be a computer and one mobile device, leaving users with more than one computer, or a computer and two mobile devices (a phone and a tablet, for instance), needing to pay for the first time. Free users can still access the web version of Evernote, though.
At the same time, the price for the Plus and Premium tiers of Evernote has risen by about 40%, taking them to $34.99 (25.96) and $69.99 (51.92) a year respectively. Unusually, Evernote doesnt charge by total storage, but by the amount uploaded each month. The Plus tier allows 1GB of data to be synced with the web monthly, while the Premium tier allows 10GB. The latter also offers tools for power users, such as business-card scanning and PDF annotation.
Chris ONeill, the companys chief executive, said that the price rises were necessary if Evernote was to continue investing in the software. Our goal is to continue improving Evernote for the long term, investing in our core products to make them more powerful and intuitive while also delivering often-requested new features. But that requires a significant investment of energy, time and money. Were asking those people who get the most value from Evernote to help us make that investment and, in return, to reap the benefits that result.
As a sweetener to Basic users, Evernote is also adding a passcode lock feature to the free tier. But thats not enough to stop a number of users complaining about the changes on Evernotes own site. Some of the first comments after the announcement say the app is slowly but surely starting to price [itself] out of the market, and I love Evernote, but Im not sure I love it that much.
One of the first popular services to allow for online syncing of notes between apps and the web, Evernote has been facing increasing competition from major players in Silicon Valley.
Microsofts OneNote is tightly integrated with its Office package of productivity tools, is free to use (although more than 15GB of online storage costs money) and just launched a total import service from Evernote, allowing users to easily switch. And Apple Notes, the built-in service that ships with iPhones, has been gradually receiving improvements since its launch in 2007 to the point where diehard Evernote users say its now a compelling, and free, alternative.