Google has extended an incentive program it has in place for businesses that currently might have contracts with other vendors to switch over to the company's Google Apps cloud productivity suite for free.
Google launched the incentive program last October in a bid to get more organizations to try Google Apps. Since then, more than 200,000 users have "gone Google," Neil Delaney, the company's director, global inside sales/midmarket, Google Apps for Work, wrote in an April 26 blog post. Google has seen tremendous interest in the program from smaller and midsize organizations, he said.
As a result, Google has decided to extend the global program through the end of 2016. Organizations with between 250 and 3,000 employees that currently are locked into an enterprise agreement with another software vendor are eligible for what Delaney described as "zero-cost" Google Apps licenses for the duration of their existing contracts.
Companies with 100 to 3,000 employees are now also eligible for so-called Deployment Vouchers that they can apply toward the costs of deploying Google Apps, Delaney said. Previously, the vouchers were available only to organizations with a minimum of 250 employees.
The incentives do not end there. Midmarket companies that sign up for the promotional offer will also get paid up to $750 for participating in a Google Security Workshop that will walk them through the security features available in Google Apps directly from Google and via partners.
For example, a limited number of midmarket companies that sign up for the promotional offer will receive free encryption keys from Google partner Yubico for protection from account hijacking, phishing and other security threats.
As a result of Google partnerships with other vendors, companies that sign up for the promotion will also receive discounts when they sign up for other applications like Powertools for workflow management and Smartsheet for online project management.
"Our EA program gives new customers the opportunity to influence the move to Apps—and gives decision-makers the final incentive to make the switch," Delaney said. "Midsize companies don't always have the same resources as larger enterprises, and constraints—like contract lock-in—shouldn't hinder collaboration or efficiency at work."
The program has some limitations. Google has previously noted that organizations can sign up to a maximum of 3,000 users for free with a cap of $25 for each user. In order to qualify for the free service, organizations also have to agree to sign up for Google Apps for at least one year after the completion of their existing enterprise agreement.
Analysts have previously noted that Google's promotional offer is likely being driven by the enormous success that Microsoft has had in the cloud productivity market over the past year or so with its Microsoft Office 365 suite. Numerous recent reports have shown Microsoft's technology as trouncing Google Apps in the market for cloud-based email and productivity applications.