Google tonight announced a reseller and accreditation program for Google Apps. Resellers, after being trained by Google, can now market, support, and customize Google Apps Premier Edition for their customers. Resellers will get training and support from Google, as well as tools for sales, marketing, and integrating Google Apps into their customers' existing architectures. Google has already rolled out a pilot of this program to more than 50 partners worldwide.
In its press release, Google especially stresses the cost benefits of moving to cloud services, as well as the security benefits of using Google's tools. Google notes that Google Apps is currently being used in more than 1 million businesses and has more than 10 million active users, with 3,000 new businesses signing up for it daily.
The Google Apps Premier Edition includes Google's Gmail, Docs, Sites, and Video for Business services, as well as numerous tools for migrating from other email services and enhanced security features.
With this, Google is clearly pushing for a wider adoption of Google Apps in the enterprise. Google could probably support these customers itself, but having a network of local sales forces and support staff would be costly and probably not something that Google would want to undertake in this volatile economic climate.
Resellers will get recurring revenue for as long as the customer uses Google Apps and will be getting the service from Google with a 20% discount, which is about $40 a year per seat.