Comparing Google Apps to Office 365? In case you missed it, Google announced that it will no longer be providing Google Apps for free to small businesses. Google will still provide Google Apps to individuals and educational institutions for free (Microsoft has similar programs), but businesses will have to pay.
Removing “it’s free!” as a competitive differentiator against Microsoft’s Office 365 is a big deal: it’s hard to argue with “free”. We’ve seen over the last six months a leveling of the playing field between Microsoft and Google, as it applies to pricing decisions. Microsoft has certainly messaged an “in it to win it” approach against Google.
Whether Google’s announcement will amount to a significant or quickly forgotten event remains to be seen. Meanwhile, we’re continuing to hear from organizations that are ready to move to the cloud, and want to do so using the tools their users are already trained on–Exchange and Outlook. Office 365 fits the bill.