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The future of LastPass - what next for the Internet's top password manager?

John E Dunn | Dec. 10, 2015
LogMeIn seems to be attracted to the value in retaining the large user base that LastPass built over many years.

Two months on from LogMeIn's contentious $110 million (£70 million) acquisition of the popular password security system LastPass, Computerworld UK decided to test the water on the application's future under its new owners. Takeovers are a common and often desirable occurrence in tech and security, allowing smaller companies to gain investment and access to new customers. Just as often they mean small, innovative, popular products disappearing into larger firms that don't understand them or necessarily care about the established user base.

On the basis of LogMeIn's answers to our questions, it sounds as if this one will fall into a generally positive grey area between these two extremes. On the one hand the answers below avoid making any firm statements regarding future pricing of LastPass Premium (the annual $12 fee is considered a bargain by many) but neither do they suggest any big hikes are likely. LogMeIn seems to be attracted to the value in retaining the large user base that LastPass built over many years. Changing things would be risky and pretty bad PR - LastPass's user base is active and more influential than most.

LastPass will continue its Freemium model for now. LogMeIn says that its controversial decision to hike prices for its own LogeMeIn remote support system early in 2015 was based on a completely different market whose dynamics don't apply to LastPass. The password manager also has a sizable user base of 15,000 companies for its Enterprise version and it is this profitable niche it will want to expand to fuel financial growth.

Other positive noises include that the LastPass team based in Virginia will continue to drive the product's development so the software won't be handed over to engineers who've never worked with it. The Meldium product gained from a previous acquisition, will be subsumed within LastPass rather than the other way around. As for the security breach that hit LastPass in 2015, we remain none the wiser although LogMeIn repeats the view that LastPass's CEO Joe Siegrist handled a difficult event to his credit. We'd generally agree with that but it would still be nice to have more informaiton on exactly what happened.

The following answers were supplied by LogMeIn's vice president of corporate communications, Craig VerColen.

Computerworld UK: Why did LogMeIn buy LastPass and why now? Or why did LastPass sell itself and why now? The company bought a separate system called Meldium in 2014.

VerColen: Identity and access management represents one of LogMeIn's declared strategic growth drivers. It's an area where we have been investing from both an organic and M&A standpoint. And we see password management as a key, relatively underserved part of that market. With LastPass, we have acquired a market leading position in password management, as well as a wildly popular and beloved product. Meldium's capabilities, which are focused on teams and small businesses, offers a great complement. In the short term, both products will be supported. In the longer-term, we'll be building around a single IAM offering, and that will be based on LastPass, both architecturally and from a brand.

 

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