London: Web giant Google is set to stop offering its web-based office software, including Gmail, for free to small businesses as it aims to increase revenues outside its core web advertising business, according to a report.
Google said that by charging 50 dollars per user per year, 33 pounds in Britain, it would be able to provide better support to businesses.
“Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes,” The Telegraph quoted the firm, as saying.
According to the paper, previously, Google Apps, a web-based attempt to challenge to Microsoft Office’s dominance of everyday enterprise tasks such as word processing and spreadsheet editing, was free of charge to firms with 10 or fewer staff.
Now, individual consumers will still be able to use Google Apps, including Gmail and Google Drive, for free, and the change will have no impact on existing business customers, the firm said.
The new separation will allow Google to introduce new features, that may not be “business-ready” to its consumer products more quickly, said Clay Bavor, director of product management for Google Apps, according to the paper.
Google Apps, created from 2006 onwards with a series of acquisitions and new developments by Google, and using Gmail as a foundation, is used by more than five million firms, the paper said.