Google (News - Alert) and Office 365 provider Microsoft (News - Alert) have always been vying for the attention of individuals and businesses with their suites that include e-mail and calendar functions. In an interesting move, Google has gotten rid of its basic Apps plan, which offered free e-mail, calendaring and documents, plus five GB of generic Google Drive storage per month. Now, companies will have to pay the $50 per year for access to Google Apps for Business.
“When we launched the premium business version we kept our free, basic version as well,” wrote Clay Bavor, director of Product Management for Google Apps, in a blog post. “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. 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.”
While the search giant’s software remains the choice of many schools and businesses, this recent decision may cause some to shift over to Microsoft’s offerings. While Google still offers the cheaper option at $50 a year, Office 365 costs $6 a month ($72 a year). However, Microsoft’s main selling point may be from the paradigm of familiarity.
“Office 365 delivers enterprise class capabilities, the familiarity of Office, and a cloud service backed by Microsoft,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. “For a cost difference that amounts to the price of a cup of coffee, small businesses that are considering a move to the cloud have more reasons than ever before to choose Microsoft.”
Both companies offer their own marketplaces for apps and both have many of the same features and capabilities, albeit the average individual may be more used to Microsoft’s offerings than Google. This being said, the price hike may not act as that much of a deterrent since it is still cheaper and many businesses have been grandfathered in with their free offerings.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein