New Delhi: The MSME industry in India has several concerns over Google’s latest policy changes. Synersoft Technologies CEO Mr. Vishal Prakash Shah sent an open letter to Google Apex Executive This is to announce that an open letter written to Google India management team and copied to the Competition Commission of India, Ministry of MSMEs, IT & Broadcasting, Science & Technology, Industry & Commerce, and Finance, uncovered certain monopolistic and unfair business practices of Google India.
Under this policy change, Indian MSMEs will be forced to pay an additional INR 1500Cr to INR 5000Cr per year. As Google announced the renaming of G-Suite to Google Workspace with specific policy changes which state that additional 100 GB of storage is no longer available as it must match the “Business Standard” category, which has a minimum storage of 2 TB and costs INR 10,100 per year per user. Google further stated that if a company needs more than 30 GB of storage in a single account, they must upgrade all accounts to 2 TB storage, which led them to pay a 400% price tag. higher. Additionally, Google raised the exit barrier, which made it harder for businesses to transfer their data to another service provider.
Synersoft CEO Vishal Prakash Shah says, “This policy change will have a huge negative impact on the MSME sector. These additional changes may lead to the downfall of many businesses in the MSME sector. Google’s exit barrier has caused us further problems if we move to a new service provider. As stated in my open letter, MSMEs are the backbone of our country. As we run and thrive businesses with scarce resources and contribute significantly to our country’s GDP.
This letter is written by unitedSMEs as part of an initiative to help Indian MSMEs air their grievances and speak out against unfair and monopolistic business practices. UnitedSMEs is the division of Synersoft Technologies that assists MSMEs with skills development and strategic direction. SYNERSOFT is the manufacturer of the Indian IT product BLACKbox which helps MSMEs to save the cost of IT software and hardware for MSMEs
With the greatest disappointment, as a champion of MSMEs, I write this open letter to the management team of Apex at Google India. In January 2017, my fandom started for Google when Sundar Pichai announced that Google India was planning to enable 51 million Indian MSMEs to pursue their digital quest. I sensed Google’s empathy for Indian MSMEs when it published a survey in the Economic Times suggesting that two-thirds of MSMEs in India suffer losses. I had my fan moment when SIDBI: Google pledged to support MSMEs with a corpus of 110 Crore in response to post-covid crisis situations.
What I have witnessed over the past four months has shattered my fandom for Google. It’s about moving from empathy to apathy. It is about ruthlessly executing unfair, coercive and monopolistic business practices in Indian markets, which ironically hurts Indian MSMEs on the road to recovery the most. Such an arbitrary policy change will force Indian MSMEs to pay an additional INR 1,500 Cr to INR 5,000 Cr per year. The net present value of these additional annual outflows could be between 15,000 Cr and 50,000 Cr INR.
This will be a blow to Indian MSMEs. More importantly, Indian MSMEs will derive no value from these additional annual outflows. By ending unfair, coercive and monopolistic practices, Google can recover, as Sundar Pichai predicted in 2017.
Lay people Example problem
Before explaining the real problem, I would like to give a layman example for better understanding. Suppose I have reserved 25 rooms in a hotel for my guests for a family wedding. Some rooms are taken as single occupancy, others as double occupancy and others as triple occupancy. Accordingly, the tariff is paid. The guests moved in with their luggage and valuables. Suddenly, the hotel manager declares that the room rate for triple occupancy will be increased by 400%. In addition, since you took a triple occupancy room, you must take triple occupancy for the 25 rooms and pay 400% more rate for all rooms. Hold; It is not finished. It further states that if you disagree and decide to move to another hotel, you can only take one bag per day at a time and pay the fee (triple occupancy for all users) up to ‘that you don’t leave the rooms. If you don’t decide to pay or move, he will lock the rooms and you will lose your belongings.
The real problem
Let me explain the problem and why I say it is unfair, coercive and monopolistic. These are specific policy changes regarding Google Workspace, formerly G-Suite.
Suppose I own an MSME with 50 computer users. I took 30GB G-Suite Basic storage space for each team member. Imagine that I have been using it for four years and I pay INR 1.25,000 per year (INR 2,500 per user per year). Over time, two of my senior colleagues and I needed more storage space. Google gave us 100 GB of additional storage space for INR 1300 per year per user. So three of us have 130GB of storage each for INR 3800 per user per year and the rest of the 47 users have 30GB of storage each. My total annual debit is INR 1,28,900. All my data is on Google Cloud and my business communication is on Google. In a nutshell, I am extremely dependent on Google.
Then Google announced the rebranding of G-Suite to Google Workspace with specific policy changes. We are informed that additional storage of 100 GB is no longer available. You have to upgrade to the “Business Standard” category, which has a minimum storage of 2TB and costs INR 10,100 per year per user. They also said that if you need more than 30GB of storage in a single account, you should upgrade all accounts to 2TB of storage. Let’s rework the numbers. So now, because I need 130GB for a few users, I’m forced to upgrade all 50 accounts to 2TB storage at 400% higher price.
This equates to an annual outflow of INR 5,05,000 from 1,28,900. This is unfair.
Google knows that MSMEs like us can’t have 100TB data (50 users with 2TB each), so we won’t be able to use it. So he doesn’t need to provision 100 TB on his cloud and can still charge for 100 TB.
Imagine the situation. If I did not agree to upgrade all accounts, the space would immediately be reduced to 30 GB instead of 130 GB, which would stop my activity. Right now, business stops like email stops. It’s a pressure point to force me to move to 2TB each for all users.
In such a situation, imagine the options available to MSMEs like us. Migrating to another service provider is the smartest option. But Google has already lifted the exit barrier.
There are complex ways to export email data from Google Workspace. Most MSMEs cannot understand them and all they can do is upload all emails to Google’s new service provider. If I want to download all my emails to another service provider, Google has a policy that I cannot download them continuously. It will allow a limited number of emails every hour and then wait for the next cycle. It takes days. And these days my emails have stopped (read business).
So even if I want to go out, I can’t. This is an ultimate pressure point to compel MSMEs to upgrade to 100TB of storage for the considered example.
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Dear Google, this is not OK. We are MSMEs. We are the backbone of this country. We run and thrive our businesses with limited resources and sincere hard work. We contribute significantly to the GDP of our country. We are creating important jobs for our fellow citizens. We earn important currencies for our country. We honestly pay taxes for the development of our country. We are a big market for you. Our government takes us seriously.
Accept the reality that we can’t waste our hard-earned money on your arbitrary policies that force us to pay for what we don’t need.
It is anti-development for India, my country.
We Indians have adopted you as our own, celebrated your leadership decisions and accepted you as part of our digital life.
We’re asking you to streamline your policies by lowering the exit barrier or selling something your customers need. Remember that we MSMEs have sportingly accepted the price hike you declared three years ago from INR 1500 to INR 2500 for a 30GB mailbox.
Introduce additional storage space options in the “Business Starter” category. It is unfair to charge customers for what they will not use.
Or revoke the force upgrade policy for all users in case a user needs more storage. This is a coercive practice to force customers to upgrade for all users when the upgrade requirement is for only one user.
If you don’t want to do the above, cooperate with your customers who want to migrate. It is monopolistic to maintain a high exit barrier.
I hope you understand the concerns and take them positively. We MSMEs would be happy to see you review the policy and streamline it.