From its small beginnings as a simple Gmail idea, to helping businesses and schools work better together without having to worry about software and server management, Google Apps has now grown to include over five million business users.
In order to offer better customer care support with uptime guarantees, Google (News - Alert) will no longer be offering the free versions of Google Apps to businesses.
According to the firm’s official Google Apps blog post, this move will enable the company to push Google Apps further to customers and offer a superior service. Google mentioned that businesses are quickly outgrowing the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger storage spaces.
In addition, consumers who signed up had to wait for several days for Google to make available new features and get them business-ready. Customers who use Google Apps for Business or were on the free version of Google Apps, for example, were required to wait for several days in order to use Google+.
Google, however, says individuals will continue to access the free version, but for businesses, this will no longer be possible. The Google Apps for Business will now be a fully premium product for all businesses of all sizes and will cost $50 per user, per year.
Google Apps for Education will continue to be freely available to schools and universities and Google Apps for Government will continue to be $50 per user, per year.
Until 2011, Google Apps for Business was available for free for businesses with 50 people or fewer. The latest move to remove the free version for businesses, whether they have 50 or fewer or 10 users, will no doubt step up the competition between Google Apps and Microsoft’s (News - Alert) Office 365 Small Business service which costs $72 per user, per year, while Office 365 Small Business Premium subscription, which includes traditional versions of Office and mobile clients, going for $149.99 per user, per year.
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Edited by Braden Becker