Willl we ever pay for anything again?

An article on TechCrunch entitled “Why do we still let webmail services get away with deleting our data?” suggests that with storage so cheap web mail services should not delete mail accounts and stored mail if the accounts became inactive. Recently there was also an outburst of concern when Google temporarily “lost” MyMaps data.

The article goes on to consider the future adoption of free cloud based services

Now that more services are moving to the cloud, our most vital data (like photos and documents) is increasingly at the mercy of these web companies – an unsettling thought given the precedent set by webmail services. For these cloud-based services to thrive users will have to believe they’re good for life, not just until the company involved holds their data ransom for a revenue boost (or worse – deletes it entirely)

As the global recession bites and advertising revenues go into a tailspin thephilanthropists” at Google, Yahoo and other cloud service providers will need to replace lost revenue with old fashioned subscriptions or cut back on the level/quality/security of service that they provide. The question will be how much we want our web mail, online docs and photosharing, are they nice to haves or are we prepared to pay a modest amount for them? Currently the percentage paying for premium services in the cloud is tiny. 

I wonder who will be the first to substantially reduce the service availability of free cloud apps? Perhaps we are waiting for the Cloud Crunch to dramatically change the free software landscape.