Google says it will soon start charging Google Apps business users. They're thinking about a subscription fee of a few dollars per month per user:
After months of dancing around with Web versions of e-mail, group calendars, and the like, Google Inc. (GOOG ) is finally about to take a big leap onto Microsoft's turf. Since last August, the search leader has offered a test version of an online office productivity software suite, called Google Apps for Your Domain, that lets companies offload e-mail systems to Google while keeping their own e-mail addresses. Soon, it's expected to add word-processing and spreadsheet services to the suite, which includes an online calendar, chat service, and Web page builder. In coming weeks, Google Apps will turn into a real business as Google begins charging corporations a subscription fee amounting to a few dollars per person per month. "We're dying to use something like this," says Brandeau. He's "on the cusp" of signing a contract with Google.