For businesses with 11-50 users wanting to use Google Apps, the free lunch line closed for new subscribers. In fact, those business subscribers need to step up and pay $5/user/month for the pay-as-you-go, non-contractual option for Google Apps for Business. Only companies with 1-10 users will receive Google Apps for free; a version which comes with less free storage and lower uptime guarantees.
Standing Apart from Google Apps
With over 100,000 requests for the Office 365 beta, customers are looking forward to the general availability of Office 365 this year. It will bring a substantially more attractive online services value to small businesses and individual professionals. For a peek, see this snapshot of Office 365 for small businesses. (You might also scan the Office 365 enterprise plans if your organization is larger.)
A few ways Office 365 stands apart for small businesses are in delivering:
• The best productivity offered in the industry, including capabilities such as Lync Online meetings
• Applications with enterprise-class reliability and security
• No hidden costs in security, user training, deployment or IT support
• A clear, published cloud roadmap
• A financially backed, 99.9% uptime guarantee
• File fidelity, such as for Excel and Word documents. That is, what you see on your desktop is what you get in the cloud.
Hear From Others about Office 365
“What this amounts to is very powerful and professional tools at reasonable prices and a service that can make any business, no matter how small, not just look like but operate like a high-quality operation. This isn't form over function—it's the best possible function at the right price"… "Office 365 Small Business makes Google's offering look unsophisticated and cobbled together by comparison.”
-- Paul Thurrott, Windows IT Pro
“Office 365 encompasses a well-thought-out collection of services that combine flexibility and stability while conforming to real-world business needs for compliance and security.”
-- P.J Connolly, eWeek
It would be great to hear from you. Please let me know your thoughts on what Microsoft plans to deliver for small companies by leaving a comment below this post.