Switching away from Microsoft Office has never been easier – or cheaper for that matter – with Google’s aggressive move of growing its Google Apps for Work department. If your company works under a Microsoft enterprise agreement, or EA, Google has promised to give you free access to Google Apps for Work.
Rich Rao, Google Apps director of global sales, described the initiative of making Apps for Work free as a means of “meeting the needs of customers with EA.” Microsoft’s EA is nothing short of a specialized weapon for ensuring customer loyalty with some of the company’s its biggest customers. In other words, it makes you agree to a three-year contract in exchange for generous discounts on Office and other apps.
Microsoft is a great fan of the EA because it locks you as a user no matter what. But seeing that you sign up in advance, a lot of customers end up paying for services they don’t need or use – all of that for the entire three-year stretch of the deal. It also means that many companies who got stuck with EA won’t be looking for alternatives like Google Apps.
This is why Google has decided to change the rules a bit in order to attract more individual users as well as entire companies. By offering their Google Apps for Work for free, the tech giant hopes to woo EA users into business. How? By adding a catch to their offer.
The companies have to promise that once Microsoft’s EA is up, they will keep on using Google Apps for Work for a year, paying $5 per user per month only for the productivity tools, or $10 per user per month for unlimited storage. But that’s not all that Google is willing to do in order to promote Google Apps.
A lot of companies use trusted resellers in distributing their business software, and Google knows that; so, the Silicon Valley firm will be paying $25 – out of pocket – per user to these resellers, to cover the training expenses for new Google Apps users.
Google’s enterprise apps are doing rather well, claiming users among 60 percent of the Fortune 500. From a global perspective, Rao says that Google’s service is used by more than 600 companies outside the U.S., amounting to roughly 10,000 paying users.
According to Rao, a lot of Google Apps’ features have become the standard in the industry. Strategic moves like this one are designed to challenge Microsoft’s own strong enterprise presence based on Office 365. So can Google woo those customers with the enticement of free software?
Image Source: The Creative Collective