Who can resist the allure of free? Especially when you consider enterprise deployments that ultimately involve hundreds if not thousands of dollars per annum. Knowing too well that line of thinking, Google has cooked up a way to entice businesses away from their pricey Microsoft and IBM enterprise agreements (EA). Google will allow such customers to use Apps for Work for free while they are bidding their time for the EA to run its course, giving users some time to get familiar with the new Google work environment at no extra cost.
The enterprise is seen as the next big, not to mention lucrative, frontier for tech companies. Microsoft has its Office 365 and even Apple has been eying a spot in that market. Google has had its Google Apps for Work for years and more recently started to push its Android for Work strategy. But enterprise deployments do not come cheap and EAs are set up to entice customers to renew their contracts with the promise of lowering prices. Google knows it is facing an uphill batter in trying to get users away from those, and so it tries to leverage the power of “free”.
In a nutshell, Google itself will be shouldering the fee of using Google Apps for Work while waiting for an existing contract to run out. And even after that, the search giant will try to help defray deployment costs and set the customer up with a Google for Work Partner. While Google’s announcement doesn’t exactly name names, its promo page does mention Microsoft and IBM, two of the biggest players in that market.
That said, free here isn’t completely free. Although Google won’t charge for Apps for Work until the end of the EA, Google for Work deployment does cap out at $25 per person, so there will still be some money to be spent. After that grace period, Google for Work will run for $5 to $10 per person per month.
Google Apps for Work consists of office software such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive as well as communication platforms such as Gmail and Hangouts.