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Google Seeks to Entice With Google Apps Offer

Microsoft has been garnering considerable attention of late around productivity and collaboration, what with its global release of Office 2016 and previews of Office 365 enhancements like Skype for Business voice and conferencing capabilities. Google, for one, has certainly taken notice -- and apparently doesn't intend to go quietly into the night.

In fact, it has made quite a ruckus with an announcement today that it is giving some enterprises the chance to try out Google Docs, with all of its collaborative richness, for free. Rich Rao, head of global sales for Google Apps for Work, introduced the incentive in an Official Google for Work Blog post, "Going Google just got easier."

He wrote: "... we're so confident that Docs has all the features you need, without the ones you don't, that we're making it even easier to give it a try. If you're worried about switching to Docs because you still have an enterprise agreement (EA) with another provider, we'll cover the fees of Google Apps until your contract runs out. We'll even chip in on some of the deployment costs and set you up for success with one of our Google for Work Partners."

Lest you think there must be some trap involved, Rao assured otherwise. A simple contract, "no traps or gotchas" will follow once your current EA expires, he wrote. In the post Rao did not elaborate on what he meant by a "simple contract," but others have reported that enterprises that take Google up on its offer will need to sign a one-year commitment to the paid service -- with standard pricing at $5 per user per month for the productivity tools -- once their current EA has expired.

An AP piece on ABC News noted that the "switch up and try us out" offer runs for the next six months in the U.S., and that Google "is limiting the free usage to 3,000 people per defecting customer."

At that rate, the AP writer added, "Google will be foregoing $180,000 to $360,000 in annual revenue if a company with 3,000 people signs up for the offer."

Google apparently has the confidence to consider that no big deal, even multiplied across many, many enterprises here and, ultimately, elsewhere across the globe. As Rao wrote: "There's a new way of working, and we think that once you see Docs and the rest of Google Apps for Work in action, you'll never want to go back."

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