Full Text Synersoft CEO's Open Letter to Google on Latest Policy Changes

 - Sakshi Post

New Delhi: The MSMEs industry in India has several concerns regarding Google's latest policy changes. The CEO of Synersoft Technologies, Mr. Vishal Prakash Shah, has sent an open letter to Google's Apex Executive This is to announce that an open letter written to top management team at Google India, and copied to Competition Commission of India, Ministry of MSMEs, IT & Broadcasting, Science & Technology, Industry & Commerce, and Finance, has uncovered certain monoplilistic and unfair business practices by Google India.

According to this policy change, Indian MSMEs will be forced to pay an additional INR 1500Cr to INR 5000Cr yearly. As Google announced rebranding G-Suite to Google Workspace with specific policy changes which states additional 100 GB storage is no longer available as they need to fit 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 business needs more than 30 GB storage in a single account, they must upgrade all the accounts to 2 TB storage which led them to pay 400% higher price. Additionally, Google has raised the exit barrier, which has made it more difficult for businesses to transfer their data to a different service provider.

Synersoft CEO, Vishal Prakash Shah states: “This policy change will have a huge negative impact on MSMEs sector. These additional changes may lead to downfall of many companies in MSMEs sector. Google's exit barrier has caused further problems for us if we switch to a new service provider.  As stated in my open letter, MSMEs are the backbone of our country. As we manage and flourish businesses with scarce resources and contribute significantly to the GDP of our country.”

This letter is written by unitedSMEs as an initiative to help Indian MSMEs voice their grievance and blow the whistle against unfair and monopolistic trade practices. UnitedSMEs is the division of Synersoft Technologies which helps MSMEs on skills development and strategic guidance. SYNERSOFT is the maker of Indian IT product BLACKbox which helps MSMEs to save IT Software and Hardware cost for MSMEs 

With utmost disappointment, as an MSME champion, I am writing this open letter to Apex Executive Team at Google India. In January 2017, my fandom started for Google when Sundar Pichai announced that Google India was eying at enabling 51 million MSMEs of India on their digital pursuit. I sensed the empathy of Google towards MSMEs of India when it released a Survey in Economic Times suggesting Two-Thirds of MSMEs in India are undergoing loss. I experienced my fan moment when SIDBI: Google tied up to support MSMEs with 110 Crore corpus as crisis response post-covid situations.

What I have witnessed in the last four months has shattered my fandom for Google. It is about shifting gears from empathy to apathy. It is about bluntly executing unfair, coercive, and monopolistic trade practices in Indian markets, ironically harming the Indian MSMEs the most on their path to recovery. Such an arbitrary policy change will force the Indian MSMEs to pay an additionalINR 1500 Cr to INR 5000 Cr yearly. The net present value of such additional yearly outflow could be between INR 15000 Cr to 50000 Cr.

It will be a massive blow to Indian MSMEs. Most importantly, the Indian MSMEs will not realize any value from this additional yearly outflow. By discontinuing unfair, coercive, and monopolistic practices, Google can reestablish itself, as Sundar Pichai projected in 2017.

Laymen Example of Problem

Before I explain the real problem, I would like to give a layman’s example for better understanding. Say, I have booked 25 rooms at a hotel for my guests for a family wedding event. Some rooms are taken on single occupancy, some on double occupancy, and some on triple occupancy. Accordingly, the tariff is paid for. The guests have moved in with their luggage and valuables. Now suddenly, the hotel manager declares that the tariff for triple occupancy rooms will be raised by 400%. Not only that, but since you have taken one room for triple occupancy, you must take triple occupancy for all 25 rooms and pay 400% more tariff for all the rooms. Hold on; it’s not over. He further declares that if you disagree and decide to move to another hotel, you can take only one bag daily at a time and pay the charges (triple occupancy for all users) until you don’t vacate the rooms. If you don’t decide to pay or move out, he will lock the rooms, and you will lose your belongings.

The Real Problem

Let me explain the problem and why I state it is unfair, coercive, and monopolistic. It is about specific policy changes pertaining to Google Workspace, formerly G-Suite.

Let’s assume that I am an MSME owner having 50 computer users. I have taken a G-Suite Basic 30 GB storage space for each team member. Imagine I have been using it for the last four years and paying INR 1,25,000 INR annually (INR 2,500 per user annually). In due course of time, two of my senior colleagues and I required more storage space. Google gave us 100 GB of additional storage space for INR 1300 per year per user. So, three of us have 130 GB storage each for INR 3,800 per user per year and rest of the 47 users have 30 GB storage each. My total yearly outflow is INR 1,28,900. All my data is on google cloud, and my business communication is on Google. In a nutshell, I am critically dependent on Google.

Then Google announced rebranding G-Suite to Google Workspace with specific policy changes. We are informed that an additional 100 GB storage is no longer available. One must upgrade to the “Business Standard” category, which has a minimum storage of 2 TB and costs INR 10,100 per year per user. They also declared that if you need more than 30 GB storage in a single account, you must upgrade all the accounts to 2 TB storage. Let us rework the numbers. So now, because I need 130 GB for a few users, I am coerced to upgrade all 50 accounts to a 2 TB storage at a 400% higher price.

It works out to be a yearly outflow of INR 5,05,000 from 1,28,900. It is unfair.

Google knows that MSMEs like us can’t have data of 100 TB (50 users with 2 TB each), so we will not be able to use it. So, it does not need to provision 100 TB on its cloud and can still charge for 100 TB.

Imagine the situation. If I did not agree to upgrade all accounts, the space would be immediately shrunk back to 30 GB from 130 GB, stopping my business. In today’s time, business stops as emails stop. It is a pressure point to force me to upgrade to 2 TB each for all the users.

In such a situation, imagine what options MSMEs like us have. Migrating to another service provider is the wise option. But Google has already raised 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 download all emails to the new service provider from Google. If I want to download all my emails to another service provider, Google has set 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 exit, I can’t. It is an ultimate pressure point to compel MSMEs to upgrade to 100 TB storage for the example in consideration.

Also Read: Bank Of India First Public Sector Bank To Go Live On New Direct Tax Collection System Tin 2.0

Dear Google, this is not OK. We are MSMEs. We are the backbone of this country. We manage and flourish our businesses with scarce resources and sincere hard work. We contribute significantly to the GDP of our country. We create significant employment for our fellow citizens. We earn significant foreign exchange 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 cannot squander our hard-earned money because of your arbitrary policies forcing us to pay for what we don’t need.

It is anti-developmental for India, my country.

We Indians have embraced you as our own, celebrated your leadership decisions, and accepted you as an integral part of our digital life.

We request you rationalize your policies by lowering the exit barrier or selling something your customers need. Please remember that we MSMEs sportily accepted the price rise you declared three years ago from INR 1500 to INR 2500 for a 30 GB mailbox.

My suggestions

Introduce additional storage space options in the “Business Starter” category. It is unfair to charge the customers what they will not use.

Or revoke the policy forcing upgrade for all users in case one user needs more storage. It is a coercive practice to force the customers to upgrade for all users when the upgrade requirement is only for one user.

If you don’t want to do the above, cooperate with your customers who want to migrate. It is monopolistic to keep a high exit barrier.

I hope that you will understand the concerns and take it positively. We MSMEs would be happy to see you review the policy and rationalize it.

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