You’ve seen this before. Free software is never actually free. So if Codeium for Individuals is free, what gives?
TL;DR we make money via our enterprise offering. There are a lot of functionalities that only make sense at the team or organization level, such as self-hosting or personalizing on codebases. Self-hosting requires upfront hardware costs that are out of reach for the individual developer and personalization only makes sense when a repository is large enough and has enough application/product specific logic or conventions.
So, this begs the obvious next pair of questions:
- Why bother with individuals if serving them costs money (via compute)?
- Or is there something else *cough data/code cough* that we are “taking from” individuals in exchange for the service?
To answer the first question, the team has a lot of experience in machine learning infrastructure. Before Codeium, the team built Exafunction, which optimized complex GPU workloads at scale for some of the biggest robotics and machine learning companies. We have taken that same infrastructure and machine learning systems knowledge to serve our own models for Codeium at orders of magnitude less cost than naive approaches (or third party API call costs).
And for the second question, the answer is simpler - no. We take security & privacy very seriously - we never sell/share user data/code or train our generative models on user code (and even make it super easy to opt out from any code snippet telemetry altogether). What we actually use are signals like if users are accepting more suggestions after pushing model or extension changes in order to iterate (i.e. A/B testing on aggregate).
If we can enable all developers with these AI tools and it doesn’t cost us heavily, then it makes sense to give Codeium for free to individuals while not selling or training on user data/code. If more individuals use and trust Codeium and find it helpful, there is a greater chance they will tell their companies about the enterprise offering, and then we will actually make money!
This might sound good for now, but free forever? That sounds too good to be true, especially if the product keeps getting more powerful, with more capabilities.
In short, we are committed to having an industry leading free tier forever. This includes things like unlimited autocomplete (like today) and anything else we can serve cheaply. We will not nerf this tier just to get individuals to pay. That being said, there may be new capabilities that actually are useful at the individual level that are expensive for us to serve with no limits, and we will wrap that into a Pro tier. But if you don’t want to pay, you have nothing to worry about - we will continue to keep improving your experience as well.
Hopefully this makes sense! We would love to have every developer equipped with the most advanced AI powered code acceleration toolkit possible. If making it free gets us to that reality quicker without burning through our pockets, then that just makes sense to us.
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