Google has decided to no longer make a free version of Google Apps for Business available, according to an official blog post, forcing all new signups to pay $50 per user, per year. Google Apps for Business bundles many of Google’s consumer services, such as Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Talk, and makes centrally manageable and tied to a business’ domain name.
Previously businesses were able to opt for a free version of the service, which offered many of the same services available in the premium version of the service, but with a maximum user count of 50. The premium version also comes with 24/7 phone support and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
While existing users of the free version of the service will be able to continue to use their accounts without any changes, new business will not be able to sign up. According to Google’s blog post, they were finding that businesses would “quickly outgrow” the more basic, free version of the service. While we understand Google’s need to make money, this change is sure to upset many micro businesses that and independent professionals that signed up for the free service every day. Many of these would-be users of the free service are one or two man shops that would likely never outgrow the service.