Google Apps for BusinessIn a bid to attract more SME signups, it looks like Google India has reduced Google Apps pricing in India by 45%. As per the new pricing, businesses can now avail Google Apps plan for as low as Rs 150 per user per month or Rs 1,500 per user per year. Previously, Google Apps in India was priced at Rs 2,700 per user per year or Rs 270 per user per month.

Features: Google Apps offers businesses with web mail, calendars, cloud storage, and video meetings through Google’s consumer products, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, and Hangouts. Google has integrated these solutions to work together seamlessly and one can access their data or services from mobile platforms including Android, iOS, or BlackBerry. Besides this, it offers 25GB of inbox size, 5GB drive storage, custom email address, unlimited users, business control, and 24*7 customer support.

Why low pricing? Note that Google has updated the Google Apps pricing only in India, where as it continues to offer the same for $5 per user per month elsewhere. This reduction in price is bit surprising considering that Google had ended its free Google Apps offering last year in December. The fact that Google has now reduced the pricing in India indicates that not enough businesses are signing up and that Google wants to focus on Indian SMBs. In December 2012, as a part of its India Get Your Business Online initiative, Google had claimed to have created 2,500 websites for businesses in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk marketplace as of December 2012, and had also set-up a dedicating directory listing page for them at Chandnichowknowonline.in.

Google had announced the ‘India Get Your Business Online‘ initiative, last year. Google intends to build 500,000 websites for Small and Medium businesses by 2014 together with HostGator through its nationwide initiative. It claims to have enabled 150,000 businesses with Web presence across 7,850 cities in India in a span of 13 months.

Other players: Google Apps directly competes with Microsoft Office 365 suite. In August 2012, Microsoft partnered with Airtel to offer Microsoft Office 365 to small businesses. The service is targeted at freelancers, small businesses and even home office owners. It is also worth noting that Microsoft along with Google and Verisign is sponsoring the NASSCOM 10,000 start-up program. Microsoft’s Azure accelerator program also provides start-ups with free cloud services and software development tools. More recently, The All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE) has made Microsoft Office 365 mandatory in all its associated educational institutions, free of charge. As part of the partnership with Microsoft, Malhaar iMarketing Advantage(IMA) will co-ordinate this adoption process, which has to be completed by June 30, 2013.

Zoho also competes with Google Apps. Its services start at $2.5 per user per month or $24 per user per year for a 10GB standard package. It also offer free plan with 5 users.