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Google Apps No Longer Free for Small Businesses

Google on Tuesday said it is changing the terms of its free service for small businesses, requiring any organization with more than 10 users to subscribe to its paid Google Apps for Business.

The move takes effect May 10 but excludes schools and nonprofits, Google announced in a blog post. Only new users are impacted by the new rule; existing customers (with up to 50 users) are grandfathered.

"This change will allow us to deliver on the expectations of our small business customers and invest in new features that will help them succeed," Google said. Among those expectations are customer support, more storage and 99.9 percent service-level agreements.

Google Apps for Business is the company's Web-based productivity, collaboration and messaging service.

The company also announced a new monthly pricing option for customers. Those who sign up for the annual $50 plan can pay in monthly installments. Also, those that don't want to commit to an annual contract can opt for a new $5 per month plan.

The move comes just one week after Microsoft released its Office 365 beta. The small-business version of Office 365, known as Plan P1, will cost $6 a month.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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Reader Comments

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 Jim United States

The whole idea of using Google Apps is it's free and it can be accessed from anywhere. It was never because it is better or easier than Microsoft Office suite installed on a local computer. Indeed, running business productivity applications inside of a web browser is so awkward and limited, not to mention it is slower, and you cannot use it without Internet connection (e.g. on an airplane). Now it is no longer free, SMBs really should look for better alternatives. DriveHQ.com has offered cloud IT service to SMBs since 2003. It is a one-stop shop for all core IT services such as file server, email server, FTP server, static web server, online backup, folder synchronization, group file sharing and collaboration with user access control. It has tons of high-end business features all bundled for the same low prices. Our user license costs only $0.6/user/month, why not give it a try?

Mon, Sep 3, 2012 Agung Jakarta

@Josh: Yes, you can, but it only supports 10 users at most.

Sat, Apr 28, 2012 Josh

there is a free version, go to Domain Settings > Cancel Google Apps for Buisness then click Downgrade to Standard Version. its free you just dont get support! :)

Wed, Apr 27, 2011 harry brelsford Bainbridge Island, WA

Welcome to a "level playing field" with Google Apps and Office 365 in the same boxing ring. Love Jason's comment above the "free isn't free" and I know that first hand in technology. If this were a boxing match - I'd say Office 365 will win by a close decision for its upper left and its 20+YO partner program. Google is just starting to build out is partner program. harrybbbb

Tue, Apr 26, 2011 Jason McDonald California

It's not the cost, Google - it's the complexity. So many Google app's are incredibly hard to understand, use, apply, explain. Apple is just down the road - could Google possibly learn from Apple how to make product easy to use? I teach the 'Top Ten Free SEO tools' online and see this constantly (Google Jason McDonald to find me).

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