Software company ProtonMail has announced a restructuring that will collect its various privacy-centric services under a new brand name: Proton.
As part of the process, the company’s email, VPN, cloud storage and calendar services will also be made available under a single unified subscription bundle (opens in new tab), although free plans will still be available.
To reflect the changes, Proton Mail, Proton VPN, Proton Drive and Proton Calendar will each receive a visual overhaul, with new logos, interfaces and apps for mobile and web platforms. Apparently, users will also benefit from “massive upgrades”, courtesy of new synergies between the services.
The move to unify the branding and integrate the various Proton services under a single subscription is designed in part to eliminate confusion over the relationship between the products, which previously existed under separate URLs and required different user accounts.
But the strategy is also a reflection of comments (opens in new tab) made recently by Andy Yen, Proton CEO, who sought to emphasize the importance of cultivating an integrated ecosystem of products that enable privacy “by default”.
Once such an ecosystem is in place, the idea is that users will no longer be forced to fall back on the services of the Big Tech giants, which have turned the harvesting of personal data into a business worth hundreds of billions.
“For many years, the internet has been dominated by ad-based business models which abuse privacy and leverage our most intimate data for financial gain,” added Yen, announcing the restructuring.
“Proton’s mission is to provide an alternative and help build a just internet economy that works for users and all of society. The transformation from individual privacy services towards an integrated privacy ecosystem is an essential step toward building a complete replacement to Big Tech’s offerings.”
A similar strategy is playing out at other companies in the privacy software space, like Brave and DuckDuckGo, both of which are actively expanding their arsenal of tools with new products, from web browsers and search engines to firewalls and video conferencing software.
Is it better value?
Proton’s ambition to establish a comprehensive privacy ecosystem may have additional benefits from a value perspective, even if overall costs will remain similar for customers.
Previously, users had to subscribe to each service separately, with one-year subscriptions to Proton Mail, Proton VPN and Proton Drive totalling roughly $10/month.
The new Proton Unlimited plan, meanwhile, costs $9.99/month for a twelve-month subscription or $7.99/month for those willing to commit for a full two years.
The bundle also offers far greater storage capacity than previous plans, at 500GB, although this still falls a long way short of alternatives on the market. TechRadar Pro has asked Proton whether plans with a more generous storage allocation will be available in future.
The only service that will still be available as a standalone product is Proton VPN, which will continue to cost roughly $5/month, depending on the duration of the subscription.
Update: May 25, 14:30 BST / 09:30 ET
A Proton spokesperson has told us that subscription bundles with larger storage caps are a possibility in future, but there are no immediate plans.