Trying to decide between Microsoft Office 365 or Google GSuite? Check out our comparison to learn more about the differences between the two powerhouse productivity services.
Microsoft Office 365 has long been the only game in town, it was the standard go-to for businesses looking for an office productivity solution. Google is giving Microsoft a run for its money with GSuite. Truth is, both options offer a strong suite of productivity services.
Both services offer the same essential tools and are subscription based models, where businesses are charged per user, per month on varying tiers. Generally, deciding which suite is better for your business comes down to preference. Each family of apps have individual differences that some people may prefer to their competitors.
Microsoft 365 is built for power. It is based off of its desktop apps, while also offering web based alternatives. Alternatively, Google Workspace is built for collaboration and is browser based (and optimized for Chrome).
Each suite includes the following features:
- Business email and shared calendaring services attached to custom domains
- Online storage, with shared space for collaboration and a large allotment of personal storage space for each user account
- Productivity apps for creating and collaborating on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations
- Corporate communication tools, including messaging, online meetings, and video conferencing
- A management interface, with advanced features such as compliance and archiving for enterprise customers as well as security features including two-factor authentication
Microsoft’s approach builds on its Office 365 platform and the accompanying desktop apps, which are now available in click-to-run packages that update automatically. The back-end services, including Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Teams, offer an easy migration path for organizations ready to move their on-premises servers to the cloud. Employees can access those services using familiar desktop apps like Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, or they can use web-based alternatives.
Google’s approach is cloud-native and browser-centric. The web-based services are identical to the personal tools your employees are already familiar with, including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets. When used with Google’s Chrome browser, those apps support offline storage of email and documents
Google has four plans: Business Starter ($6 per user per month), Business Standard ($12 per user per month), Business Plus ($18 per user per month), and Enterprise (listed as “Contact sales for pricing”).
Microsoft has a more complex model. The pricing for Microsoft 365 is significantly more complicated because it has so many sub-versions. Monthly per-user prices for Microsoft 365 plans range from $5 to $35 per user per month, and if none of their predefined plans work for you, you can always mix and match features from different plans to create a custom one.
It’s hard to compare these plans precisely since they offer so many different tiers, bundles, and services. However, both options are in the same price range. However, Google Workspace’s plans are more flexible (since they can be purchased month-to-month), and are generally simpler to understand.
Outlook vs Gmail
Again, these two services are very similar. Outlook has been the email application of choice for most businesses, while gmail become popular as a personal email service.
Gmail is intuitive and easy to use. The Gmail for business user interface looks just like the personal one so most employees will feel comfortable using it. The offline version is clunky and does not always perform well. It also does not allow for sorting group mail, which can be frustrating for users who get a lot of emails from different people. Gmail can be used in conjunction with google calendar and contacts. Google Workspace Business Starter accounts have a maximum inbox size of 30GB (or less, because that space is shared by the user’s Drive storage). That limitation goes away with the Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Premium, and Enterprise plans. Microsoft 365 mailbox sizes are capped at either 50GB or 100GB, depending on the plan.
Outlook is built for power. It has many useful features such as thread tracking, anti-malware protection, spam filtering, and group aliases. It seamlessly integrates with contacts and calendar. It has many customization options and an intuitive folder system. While the web app is not as powerful as the desktop app, it still performs very well. For many businesses, the features that come with Outlook alone make Microsoft the worthwhile choice.
Google’s flagship productivity apps are designed to work exclusively in a browser or in one of its mobile apps. By contrast, the most popular Microsoft 365 plans include the latest release of the Office desktop applications (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) on Windows PCs and Macs, in addition to increasingly full-featured web versions of those core apps. There’s no doubt that Microsoft dominates in this arena- its software is feature rich and powerful. Its programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint remain the industry standard. Microsoft has excellent formatting features and hundreds of templates to choose from.
For basic spreadsheets and documents, especially if there’s a lot of real-time collaboration, Google is the way to go, particularly with a younger workforce that has grown up with Gmail and Google Docs.
Communication and Collaboration
Microsoft Teams is a top-notch collaboration tool that Google cannot currently match.
Google Meet and Chat are excellent browser communication options. Google’s basic plan allows for up to 100 participants per call, and their best plan can have up to 250 people per call. When it comes to real time collaboration on documents, spreadsheets, etc. Google has an excellent user interface. Microsoft’s real time collaboration, while also good, is more of an add-on to their services.
Both services allow simultaneous editing of documents in the web browser, so that people can work as a team on shared projects.
Google Drive storage allocations are shared with Gmail. On Business Standard accounts, that total is 30GB. The limit increases to 1TB on upgraded accounts and is unlimited for Google Workspace Business and Enterprise plans with at least five users. Administrators can control offline access using device policies and can dictate whether users can sync Drive files to computers or mobile devices.
Every Microsoft OneDrive for Business user gets 1TB of personal cloud file storage; that limit is removed on Enterprise accounts with at least five users. For all account types, the organization gets 1TB (plus 10GB per user) of SharePoint storage.
So, which is best?
Choosing the right productivity suite has more to do with what is important to you, how your team operates, and your industry. For the financial industry, Microsoft is really the only option. If your business needs to send, receive, and edit Microsoft Office files, then having Microsoft Office is a must.
For smaller organizations and start ups, Google offers a lower cost and simple interface. If your business doesn’t need all the sophisticated features of Microsoft’s individual applications, Google’s simpler and easier-to-use workspace may be a better option.
Still wondering which option is best for your business? Reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646.558.5575. Our business technology experts will help you decide if Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 is the best option for your unique business needs.