Google Apps for Business No Longer Free for Some
Google will require organizations with 10 or more users who want to use Google Apps for Business to pay subscrition fees. That requirement takes effect May 10 and is now written into its terms of services, Google announced in a blog post
. Only new users are impacted by the new rule; existing customers (with up to 50 users) are grandfathered. The rule excludes schools and nonprofits,
"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 $5 pricing option for customers. Or users can commit to an annual $50 plan that can be paid in monthly installments.
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.
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.