Perhaps Google Apps for Business is no longer free for new customers (lucky you, you early adopters!) – but nevertheless, it’s a business decision Google has to make in response to the fact that businesses paying for the service actually outgrow the free version. So, instead of two, there’s one, single plan for businesses. It’s all about positioning. Free Google Apps accounts are now for personal and educational users; Paid Google Apps account are for businesses. Pretty straightforward, and easier to manage, I suppose.
The way I see it, the changes make sense; businesses are not bothered with the changes, either – especially the existing accounts – they are not affected.
As explained in an article on TNW, “The move to end free usage makes a lot of sense, and has been much expected, given the investment Google has made in its consumer-targeted cloud offerings, which includes the creation of Dropbox rival Google Drive.”
For new business customers, they don’t mind, either – just sign up as an individual user and see whether Google Apps can offer them what they want; whenever they are ready, just sign up with the business plan (still priced at $50/user/year) with more features, including 24/7 phone support, larger storage capacity (25GB,) and a 99.9% uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime.
Great news for business-class apps developers
This is also great news for app developers serving Google Apps users on a premium, such as Spanning, Zoho CRM and MailChimp. How so? Let’s take enterprise cloud backup app Spanning as a relevant example.
Spanning, via its Google Apps Marketplace listing, offers business-class cloud-to-cloud backup and backup recovery service for Google Apps personal and business users. Just like Google Apps for Business, Spanning is positioned to secure the B2B market, simply due to the fact that it’s also offering its services on a premium (14-day free trial, then $35/year per user… plus an additional 25% discount for non-profits.)
Spanning plays a major role in Google Apps simply due to the fact that, while Google has backup your data and recover from its own outages and woes, it’s not designed to help you recover from issues and disasters caused by human error – actually the main cause for data loss (a whopping 75% according to IT Policy Compliance Group, PC World.)
Now, as Google Apps team focuses its effort for product development on its business customers, “add-on” services available on the Google Apps Marketplace like Spanning will also benefit from the now-laser-targeted market.
I personally think that Spanning, already the highest-rated Google Apps backup solution, will enjoy a growth boost – “thanks” to Google’s pricing strategy.
So, what do you think? Is Google’s decision in removing the free business plan benefiting its third-party business app developers? Please share what you think by leaving a comment below…