As part of the next chapter in the continuously aggressive competition between two of the world's most powerful companies, Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) is now seeking higher margins for its cloud-based Google Apps platform. The Apps platform is Google's attempt to compete with one of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT ) biggest revenue generators, Microsoft Office. Google currently charges $50 per person per year for companies larger than 10 people, while smaller companies can use the software for free. However, Google is now discontinuing the free option. This could mean that by offering premium-level customer service now to smaller businesses as well, including customer support, it will build greater customer loyalty. But with so many small businesses cutting costs wherever they can, how many will actually convert and pay up?
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