Sunday, January 18, 2009

Google Gets Serious About Resellers

Google is opening the doors to resellers for its Google Apps suite of office services. Businesses who want to use Gmail, Google docs and other Google offices services in lieu of Microsoft or other solutions will be able to sign up at Google or through any qualified value added reseller that chooses to carry the products.

Google says that more than 1 million businesses and 10 million users use Google Apps today, and 3,000 new businesses sign up daily. The largest business user, Genentech, has 20,000 employees on Google Apps.

The service is free for businesses that are willing to put up with ads, little customer service and relatively low storage limits. The premium version is $50/user/year. Most of the 10 million users are using the free version of the service, but Google says "hundreds of thousands" of users are paying for the service.

Resellers will be given the service at a 20% price reduction, or $40/user/year. Anything they charge above that is profit.

The reseller pilot program has been running for the last six months or so, Google says, with over fifty active partners. New resellers can sign up now and begin selling in March.

Google Apps competes with Yahoo's Zimbra and Microsoft Outlook/Exchange Server for corporate office customers. All of the services have had high profile customer wins in the recent past.