Google is preparing to implement its first price hike for G Suite since the groundbreaking office productivity suite was introduced as Google Apps more than 12 years ago.
The cloud provider recently informed its reseller partners that on 2 April, the cost of G Suite Basic, the introductory tier, and business, the intermediate tier, will both be elevated by 20 percent for month-to-month subscriptions. The cost of the enterprise tier will stay fixed.
Google will officially make the announcement this week and has scheduled a worldwide conference call with partners on 5 February to answer their questions. The cloud provider didn't comment on this report.
G Suite Basic will go from US$5 to US$6 a month and see a steeper increase from US$50 to US$72 for a year's commitment. G Suite Business, which offers more enterprise-grade features, will climb from US$10 to US$12 a month, and a proportional US$120 to US$144 per year.
The price hike, in many ways, was expected, partners tell CRN USA. Google has been pouring R&D dollars into the product as it aggressively competes with Microsoft's rival offering, Office 365.
"They've made a lot of product enhancements, and must be looking at profitability," said one partner, who asked not to be named.
Among the upgrades introduced over the last year has been an infusion of artificial intelligence into all tiers of the product, and the release of an enterprise version of Google Voice, a telephony service long popular with consumers.
While comparing G Suite to Office 365 is an apples-to-oranges exercise, the price increase will make Google's product the more expensive option for many businesses.
Office 365 Business Essentials, the rough equivalent of G Suite Basic, costs US$60 per year, meaning Google's service will no longer be less expensive with an annual commitment. That offering comes in at US$6 per month—the same as G Suite Basic after the increase takes effect.
The E1 license for Office 365, at US$8 per month, is already less expensive than G Suite Business, the comparable product.
It's to be expected that some businesses will be irritated by paying more. They might consider a migration to Microsoft's cloud service—especially those Google customers still maintaining licensed Office products for other business needs, the G Suite partner said.
"Anytime you're dealing with a life cycle, people will be more open to other alternatives. People will take a look," the partner told CRN USA. "We're going to have to come up a with a strategy to keep those customers if they decide not to stay on G Suite."
Microsoft Office 365 resellers will certainly seek to take advantage of Google's price increase.
G Suite boasts 1.4 billion individual users, across more than 4 million businesses, the company revealed in July at its Google Cloud Next 2018 conference in San Francisco.