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No more free Google Apps for small businesses
No more free Google Apps for businesses, announces Google in one of its most significant changes yet, as the company aims to provide a more consistent user experience to all business customers.
Businesses with 10 or fewer employees have, until now, enjoyed free use of Google Apps. However, after Thursday's announcement, they will now have to cough up $50 per user, per year, to use Google Apps software which includes word processing, spreadsheets, email, and presentation programs. The cost is the same as larger businesses currently pay.
In total, more than 5 million businesses use Google Apps, although how many of those are free users is not known.
"When we launched the premium business version we kept our free, basic version as well. Both businesses and individuals signed up for this version, but time has shown that in practice, the experience isn't quite right for either group," writes Clay Bavor, Director of Product Management, Google Apps, on the company's blog.
"Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version, and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes. Similarly, consumers often have to wait to get new features while we make them business-ready."
Small businesses already using Google Apps free of charge will not be affected by this change. Likewise, Google Apps for Education will remain available as a free service for schools and universities.
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