BusinessWeek is reporting that Google is ready to mount a paid-for monthly subscription for Google Apps for Your Domain. The service, which launched several months ago, was offered free to beta users. With the graduation from beta status, Google is clearly aiming to make money off potential business users and take some business away from rival Microsoft.
The service, which we wrote about in August, includes a set of customized Google apps that provides you with free domain-centric branding including a company start page, e-mail addresses, and inter-office calendars.
My question is, what kind of business will dump Microsoft Outlook for a set of apps that runs in your browser? For smaller companies running on unstable connections (like the one I worked for before I came to Webware), the Internet can go out at any time. You can't have that kind of disconnect affecting critical documents and e-mail exchange with customers. If Google offered an offline version of their apps with this subscription, I think the company would have a much more compelling service.
In the meantime, Google's terms of service stipulate that all beta users will still get the service for free, so sign up your entire office before Google Apps for Your Domain makes the jump from beta.