I have always wondered if there is anybody paying for the premium services (Premier Edition) of Google Apps, one of the greatest services so far on The Cloud. Not because I don’t like the tool, which in fact I love, but because there is not much difference if you pay the premium services ($50/year and user). Just more capacity, no ads and a higher disponibility, which is already great if you get the free version.
Google and Michael Arrington offered this week the first data: “hundreds of thousands of users” are paying for the service, which is the same as saying that more than 200,000. It would be hard to believe if it were not for the fact that some big companies are already using it. One of them is Genentech, whose 20,000 employees are using Google Apps. It might not be a coincidence that Arthur Levinson, chairman and CEO of Genentech, is on Google’s board of directors. A total of 10 million people use Google Apps both paying and free services.
Of course Genentech did not buy the service through the web site. Its consultants (and its chairman) probably adviced it to pay Google for that. This is why Google is starting to admit that resellers need to get involved in this huge business. They will get the service a bit cheaper (for $40 per year) and they will be able to resell it at whatever price they decide.
Why buy it to a reseller instead of directly? Advice is very important here. There are many options and most people don’t know so much about Google Apps. Comparing between this service and Lotus Notes is not so easy but the difference is huge: more than €200 per user and year for Notes versus €50 for Google Apps. Most companies do, for example, pay somebody to manage their corporate e-mail and intranet, while they can have this for a low price from Google. Resellers will probably also provide their customers with formation and assistance services.