But as one Microsoft partner told me recently, the mental hurdle between free and paid is a lot higher than the hurdle between $50 and $72.
"For whatever the reason that Google Apps has killed off the free version, this is an opportunity that levels the playing field for Microsoft partners. It creates an opportunity to have businesses avoid the siren call of free and get them to focus on actual features and functionality," said Chris Hertz, CEO with Washington, DC-based New Signature.
I've asked Microsoft's Windows Phone team for information on what, if anything, it plans to do to help Windows Phone users continue to be able to sync with Google's calendar/contacts after January 30. So far, no response.
But users can employ Outlook 2013’s newly improved IMAP support to connect with their Gmail accounts, according to a Microsoft spokesperson. However, "at this time Gmail has not implemented the version of Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) used by Outlook 2013, which requires EAS 14.0 or later," the spokesperson noted.