It had become a common practice for system administrators to set up free Google accounts instead of maintenance-heavy email servers for new domains. Not anymore: With immediate effect it is no longer possible to sign up for the free Google Apps Edition, also referred to as the Standard Edition.
The official Google statement is at http://googleenterprise.blogspot.nl/2012/12/changes-to-google-apps-for-businesses.html. It’s just marketing speech though and not an honest statement about their motives.
I wonder what domain providers like name.com will do that offer the free Google Apps edition as part of their domain registration package.
As for now Zoho still offers free accounts but is limited to 3 users and 5GB storage per user.