Jan 27, 2011 (08:01 AM EST)
Verizon Bundles Google Apps For SMBs

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

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Verizon has made Google Apps available as part of its small and midsize business (SMB) bundles. Customers who combine Internet with either voice or TV services (or both) from Verizon will get three Google Apps user accounts included at no extra cost, as well as a domain name free for one year.

Additional users will cost $3.99 per user, per month. That's about two dollars less per account, per year than Google's $50 annual per user charge. Verizon's business bundles with Google Apps are currently offered in a dozen states and the District of Columbia. The company said it would also make Google Apps for Verizon available as a standalone service beyond its bundled services footprint, at the $3.99 per user, per month price point.

Verizon's announcement touted, among other features, Google's 99.9% uptime service level agreement (SLA) for Apps. It also promoted the anytime, anywhere access of online applications. Google recently updated its Apps SLA, promising no planned downtime for paid versions of the cloud-based software.

Verizon defines the SMB market as companies with up to 1,000 employees. Firms with between 20 and 1,000 people constitute its midsize segment.

Google Apps for Verizon continues an apparent trend of the telecom partnering with major software providers to wrap business applications around its core phone and broadband products -- with the goal of being a one-stop technology shop. In a promotional video on Verizon's YouTube channel, Steven Thomson, Verizon's director of small business marketing said: "Verizon wants to act as your virtual CIO."

In November, Verizon Business announced a deal to bundle Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Standard (BPOS) suite with its Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) solution. At the time, the company said it also plans to support Office 365 -- which includes cloud-based versions of Microsoft's popular productivity software -- when it leaves beta. Verizon also has a deal with Intuit to offer turnkey business Web sites to its customers. Among other alliances, Verizon works with McAfee to offer security solutions.

The Google announcement also appears to align with Verizon's broader expansion of cloud-based services.

In a guest post on the Google Enterprise Blog, Verizon vice president of small business marketing Monte Beck wrote: "Most of Verizon's service offerings are in the cloud and delivered to any business connected to the Internet with a click of the mouse. So it makes sense for us to offer Google Apps for Verizon to allow businesses to communicate and collaborate in the office or on the go."