Google Apps is used by 5 million businesses around the world. Some of those businesses are using the free version, while others pay for a premium service. A recent policy change ensures new customers won't have a choice.
Yesterday evening, Google announced that Google Apps for Business is dropping its free service. Those currently using the free service won't be affected. All new customers, however, will have to pay the $50 per person, per year fee that comes with the premium version of Google Apps for Business.
What's the reason for the change? Google says it's all about making Apps for Business straightforward. It was found that businesses who signed up for the free version quickly outgrew the limited resources provided, and switched to the premium version. With this, businesses won't be confronted with the temptation of a free version that may not be the right fit for their business. Google also notes that switching everybody to the premium version allows it to focus on building the very best premium service.
Google notes that individuals had signed up for the free version of Google Apps for Business, but the company says that's no longer needed. It suggests that individuals sign up for a personal Google Account since it provides most of the same services.
As for the other Google Apps services, they will remain unchanged. Google Apps for Education will still be free for all schools and universities. Google Apps for Government is still the same price of $50 per person, per year.