Enlarge /. A Cricut maker in its natural habitat: a carefully staged table full of various handicrafts.
Manufacturing equipment maker Cricut has completely abandoned its plan to require all equipment owners to pay a monthly subscription fee after a week of sustained public setback.
Cricut makes cutting machines for precise detail work that are used by millions of DIY enthusiasts. The machines work similarly to printers, but vice versa: you insert a pattern into the software, send it to the device, and the machine cuts your design into paper, vinyl, fabric, or a hundred other materials. Users who owned the machines could always import as many of their own designs into the Design Maker software as they wanted.
However, last week, Cricut announced that it will charge a monthly subscription fee of $ 7.99 for anyone who wishes to upload more than a handful of patterns to Design Maker in a given calendar month. The subscription would be for not only new users but also millions of consumers who have already spent hundreds of dollars on a Cricut device and accessories.
The response from the artisans was predictably quick and furious, and earlier this week, Cricut CEO Ashish Arora went back in part to the policy change, saying that any Cricut machine purchased before the end of this year – December 31, 2021 – would be unrestricted Keep access and be exempt from the subscription fee in the future. Now, however, Arora admits that the company has completely given up.
"My team has spent the week listening, learning and taking in a lot of feedback. Not every decision we make is perfect, but we take every opportunity to learn and get better," Arora said in a statement on Thursday afternoon. "We have therefore decided to reverse our previously shared plans. Currently, any member can upload an unlimited number of images and patterns to Design Space for free, and we have no intention of changing this policy. Whether you choose to to do." I am a current Cricut member or considering joining the Cricut family before or after December 31, 2021. "
While consumers came out victorious in this instance, the bottom line can be erratic. Cricut filed for an initial public offering of shares last week and may continue to seek to capitalize on the zeitgeist of the all-as-a-service revenue model used across an ever-growing variety of sectors. In the meantime, it won't be the first company to retroactively charge (or attempt to charge) a mandatory fee, and it is unlikely to be the last.