On Google Apps scrapping the free offering09 Dec 2012
In a bid to make things “very straightforward,” Google axed the basic Apps plan, which offered free email, calendaring and documents, plus 5GB of generic Google Drive storage, to up to 10 users per month. All companies will now have to pay the $50 per year cost of Google Apps for Business.
The change garnered a lot of coverage, but it isn’t that surprising. Google’s already convinced everyone that the service is worth (at least) the $50/year. While not surprising, it is exciting. I’m excited to see Google’s shift away can unblock some innovation in the email space.
When GMail launched, it dominated a lot crappy incumbents. Sadly though, now GMail is the old king that isn’t innovating. While there’s a fair amount of innovation on the email client side (Mailbox, Mail Pilot, zeromail, and the late Sparrow), they’re all still relying on Gmail as a backend because the free Google Apps offering essentially sucked the oxygen out of the room for any company building a simple, hosted email service for personal domains. Now that Google isn’t offering custom domain email for free, there’s a much more attractive business model available for one of these clients to jump on. Bonus points if a startup could build a rev share model that would financially support any of the clients.