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Google closes free version of Google Apps for new customers

Google has decided to pull the curtains on its free version
of Google Apps for businesses. In a blog post, Google has said companies of all
sizes will sign up for the premium version, Google Apps for Business, which
includes 24/7 phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox, and a 99.9% uptime
guarantee with no scheduled downtime.

Google has decided to pull the curtains on its free version
of Google Apps for businesses. In a blog post, Google has said companies of all
sizes will sign up for the premium version, Google Apps for Business, which
includes 24/7 phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox, and a 99.9% uptime
guarantee with no scheduled downtime.

Pricing is still $50 per user, per year, however, Google
Apps will remain free for individual users, as well as existing business
customers that currently use the free version.

Google had launched the premium business version and also kept
a free, basic version as well. “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,” the company has said.

Google said that it has over 40 million users,
although the majority of those are believed to be non-paying. Since launching a
paid version of its online product in 2007, Google has gradually scaled down
the size of businesses that can use it free of charge. In 2009, the limit was
set at 50 users, and in 2011 it was lowered to 10 users, prior to ending the
free portion of the service.

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