Google takes aim at Office 365 with referral program for its Apps for Business

BoxVisualWant to make some quick cash? Google wants users to start spreading its Apps for Business service, and is offering a referral bounty of $15 per user for someone who signs up a new customer.

The Mountain View-based company announced on its Enterprise blog today that the new program is designed to reward people for spreading the company’s service to other people they know. According to the post, many of the existing Apps for Business customers heard about the service through word-of-mouth, and this program is designed to encourage that sharing by providing rewards to people who sign up their friends.

Apps for Business allows companies to manage a version of Google’s apps like Hangouts, Drive and Gmail that’s tailored for their business. Users can configure the service to use their domain for email, and can manage accounts.

The program is currently available for users in the U.S. and Canada. To sign up, interested referrers will have to provide a taxpayer ID number and information for a bank account that can receive direct deposits. After that, they’ll get a special link that will provide them with a bonus whenever someone who uses it signs up for Google’s service.

This move is a shot across the bow of Microsoft’s Office 365 service for businesses. While the Redmond-based company has traditionally held a lock on providing services for the enterprise, it’s clear that Google wants an even bigger piece of that pie. While they may not be able to break Microsoft’s hold on large businesses, Google’s pricing and features, especially considering the popularity of Gmail, could seem more interesting to small businesses.