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Five years after the launch of Google Apps, the company is offering
a flexible pricing plan designed to help small and midsize
businesses. For customers who sign up online, Google is adding
the Flexible Plan, a new $5 per user, per month pricing option which
requires no contractual commitment. With this plan, businesses can add
or remove users as necessary and will automatically be billed for the
proper amount. The company said it would continue to offer the current
pricing option – $50 per user, per year with a one-year commitment – as
the Annual Plan.

Second, Google is eliminating upfront payments for new customers to
make it easier for them to manage their cash flow. Whether they choose
the Flexible or Annual Plan, customers will pay at the end of each
month. The company will also begin to offer direct debit in the United States, U.K.,
Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain, and over the
course of the next few months, Google will also make these billing
options available to their reseller partners.

In addition, starting on May 10, new organizations (excluding schools
and non-profits) with more than 10 users will need to sign up for
Google’s paid service, Google Apps for Business, which offers features
designed for businesses – customer support, more generous storage
limits, a 99.9 percent SLA and more. The company said the change would
allow them to deliver on the expectations of their small business
customers and invest in new features that will help them succeed.

Only new customers will be impacted; existing Google Apps customers can
expand beyond 10 users (up to a maximum of 50) at no additional charge,
and we’ll continue to offer Google Apps for free to groups with 10
users or fewer. Schools and non-profits that qualify for Google Apps
for Education will not be affected, Hunter Middleton from the Google
Apps product team explained.

“We hope these improvements will encourage more businesses to adopt
Google Apps for Business. And there’s a lot more to come: we’ve already
launched 57 feature improvements this year – including Google Cloud
Connect for Microsoft Office, discussions in Google Docs, and an
improved control panel for business users – and we’ll continue to
provide the innovation our customers expect,” Middleton said. “We look
forward to helping more businesses flourish in the months and years to
come.”