Google announces no more free Apps for Business version

Google Apps for Business

Google Apps has been a favorite of mine, running a few small business domains freely for years now.  In a blog posting today, Google announces that all new customers will have to sign up for the premium version. This means a per user/per year charge for each and every mail account when signing up for Google Apps for Business.

instead of two versions, there will be one. Companies of all sizes will sign up for our premium version, Google Apps for Business, which includes 24/7 phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime. Pricing is still $50 per user, per year.

The blog states that the time spent supporting the growth in the smaller businesses and offering the same support levels has outgrown their capability when it first launched. With millions of businesses of all sizes utilizing Google Apps for Business I can see where support would begin to deteriorate.

The good news is that if you are an existing company (under 25 employees) that is currently on Google Apps for business then you shall be grandfathered in at the no charge rate until you break the user limit or Google changes their mind again. You can also add multiple domains to a single apps for business account so keep that trick in mind.

Will this affect user to migrate to other platforms? Alan Lepofsky asks this very question on Twitter. I think the Apps Market is far more mature on Google than something like IBM SmartCloud and even Office 365 if you are thinking beyond email.

Do yo use Google Apps for Business? Are you a free customer? Would you look at alternatives?