There are businesses out there that find themselves in this situation. Serena Software, for example, subscribes to GAPE, but Gmail and Postini are the only Google Apps the company orders its employees to use. Docs, Sites and the rest may be used at a Serena employee's discretion.
When eWEEK apprised Google of Capossela's comments regarding the value proposition of a more granular pricing model, a Google spokesperson responded with a shrug:
"At $4.17 per user per month, we've already made it very easy and affordable for businesses to use one or all of the products in the Apps suite. In our experience, many companies start with a few applications and then adopt others like Sites and Video as their employees find ways to use them to get their job done more efficiently. Even so, we're always listening closely to our customers and incorporating their feedback into our offerings."
So, Google isn't apologizing for the blanket GAPE pricing, but it's clearly not closed to making it more granular in the future. Capossela's comments may tip Google off to the advantage of offering, say, Google Docs for $25 per user, per year, which would increase the value of that suite as an alternative to SharePoint Online. eWEEK put the question of which SAAS pricing model is superior to industry analysts.
Radicati Group's Sara Radicati noted that while Google Apps is still less expensive overall than Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, many businesses are used to Outlook and Microsoft products.
Hence, these businesses will pay more to retain some of the same interfaces. Also, the cloud option means they will be paying less to maintain the applications than if they were running the software in-house on their own hardware. Radicati concluded:
"Basically it's a big market and while Google Apps will appeal to a lot of very price-sensitive customers, there is also a very large chunk of customers that are not only focused on price but are mainly looking the same functionality they have today but at a lower cost of operation."
Meanwhile, Forrester's Chris Voce has advice for customers on the fence about productivity and collaboration SAAS from Microsoft and Google.
Noting that e-mail tends to be tightly integrated with business applications such as backup and archiving, Voce said it's best to stick with a vendor that will offer the messaging application that best suits your business' needs. So, if you're an Exchange shop, stick with SharePoint and Office LiveMeeting rather than using Google Sites or Docs.
Microsoft might have made SAAS pricing granular, but if you follow Voce's logic, you don't want to stray from Microsoft's Online Services to Google's Apps. Pick a side and stick with it.
What pricing model suits your fancy? Is it GAPE for $50 per user, per year, or Microsoft's more variable pricing scheme?