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In an effort to raise revenue, Google Apps has abandoned its free Google Apps suite for businesses with 50 or less users and is now enforcing its $50-per-user annual fee or $5-per-user monthly fee.
"Starting on May 10, new organizations (excluding schools and non-profits) with more than 10 users will need to sign up for our paid service," Hunter Middleton, Google Apps Product Team, wrote on the Google Enterprise blog. Previously the cap was set at 50 or less. Google Apps will also start billing at the end of the month rather than the beginning.
Supposedly the paid apps are better and offers more "valuable features" for small businesses, but it seems that after an earnings report where Google was spanked for spending too much money, this new development is more about creating revenue and balancing accounts. Google also cleverly outmaneuvered its competition with its $5-per-user monthly fee -- which is $1 cheaper than Microsoft's Office 365 $6-per-user monthly fee.