Verizon extends Google apps to SMB customers

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is working with one time enemy Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to extend the Internet giant's cloud-based Google Apps for Business services to its SMB customer base.

Delivered under its Google Apps for Verizon brand, SMBs will be able to get access to an entire suite of cloud-based every day services, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites.

SMB customers have the option of bundling the Google Apps, which comes with three free user accounts, with their current DSL or Fiber to the Premises (FTTP)-based broadband FiOS service, TV or voice or video service, or both. Google Apps for Verizon is also available as a standalone service for any U.S. business for $3.99 per user.  

Verizon's new Google Apps bundles are available in parts of 12 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia) in addition to Washington, D.C.

"Small and medium-sized businesses have been clamoring for a simple, cost-effective solution so they can stay focused on their core business and not waste time figuring out which tools they need," said Monte Beck, vice president of small-business marketing for Verizon in a release.

While cloud services overall are still relatively nascent concept to most businesses, Verizon's move speaks to the SMB's need for outside help to manage their daily application needs. And while there are a number of competitive alternative players that are offering cloud-based offerings, one possible advantage that Verizon could have is that name you know relationship and brand recognition that could make it more attractive for the SMB to just simply add the cloud option to their current bundle versus going with another provider.

For more:
- see the release
- Channel Insider has this article

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Google testing number porting for Voice service
Google to release enterprise Voice in 2010
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