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Google offers long-term email archiving for $45

Google’s Message Discovery, based on its 2007 acquisition of email archiving services vendor Postini, has a new option for archiving messages for up to 10 years for a flat fee of $45 per user per year. According to the Official Google Enterprise Blog, “currently there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about what kind of archiving solutions organizations should pursue, and that confusion is discouraging companies from taking this necessary step to protect their business.” Hence the new deal.

I wondered what “confusion” meant there, exactly, and how lowering the price of a technology would alleviate confusion about it. Google spokesperson Bill Kee elaborated in an email:

“There is often confusion among about how much data to keep and how much data to delete.  Sometimes, these decisions are made on the basis of legal and business priorities. Often, however, the decision to keep or dispose of email is governed by storage limitations, server performance issues, or cost considerations. By offering a flat $45 model, regardless of how much you store or for how long, our goal is to help customers make retention decisions that align with legal and business priorities, rather than having constraints imposed by technology and cost limitations.”

According to the blog, the company will continue to offer a one-year retention period for the existing fee of $25 per user per year. Both packages also include spam and virus filtering, policy management tools and, of course, search.

Google’s not the first email archiving SaaS vendor to drop prices. Just before Dell bought it last year, MessageOne launched a new rapid-archiving service that can be deployed quickly and costs $1 per user per month — about half the price of Google’s original offering.

Both companies have made their own statements about where those pricing changes come from, but I wonder if there wasn’t also resistance to the companies’ initial pricing from users. A recent Forrester Research report also attributed relatively slow adoption of email archiving SaaS to network latency in accessing off-site archived messages and searching them for e-Discovery.

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