Office 365 Vs. Google Apps

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Nearly all of us learned how to type using Microsoft Word. Then we learned how to do spreadsheets with Excel. And when finally schoolteachers across the world replaced their over-head projectors with PowerPoint presentations, IT seemed like Microsoft had the whole office suite game sewn up. And, to a large extent, that’s very true. I’m writing this out right now using Microsoft Word for Mac. Sure, I occasionally make use of Google Docs and Google Drive, but the for the most part I nearly always default back to Word.

It’s just a habit, I suppose. And one that I’m sure I share with millions of people around the globe. Microsoft got in their first with their software, and, by the time Google Apps for Business came along, we were quite happy to stick with what we already knew and loved, thank you very much.

However, Google Apps did indeed take off. And this is because IT managed to create an ‘office cloud’ system before Microsoft got anywhere near it. Suddenly, you could sync all of your documents across all of your mobile devices, sync to Outlook or Google Gmail, and create for yourself a very highly functioning and organised online office suite for yourself.

Then along came Microsoft’s retort – Office 365. I think IT would be fair to say that a lot of people assumed that, because of the holy Microsoft moniker, Office 365 would surely kill off Google Apps pretty sharpish.

But, in actual fact, IT didn’t happen like that. By the time Office 365 launched in June 2011 (as a successor, in fact, to the largely unpopular Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (MSBPOS)) a lot of businesses were already quite happy with their office cloud that had been provided by Google for the past 5 years (thank you very much), and IT was actually Microsoft which found itself struggling.

So now here we are in 2015, and, given the sheer extent of development that both Office 365 and Google Apps have undergone in recent times, combined with the fact that both suites are now absolutely jam-packed with all sorts of wonderful features, it’s fair to say that now more than ever, choosing the better product between the two has never been more difficult.

And that’s why we’ve decided to put the two head to head to help you decide for yourself which service is better suited for your business. Because, if IT hasn’t already, there will come a time when you will need to make a decision between the two. And, as your business grows and grows, IT simply won’t be realistic or economic to think that you can switch back and forth at a later date. So, whichever one you choose, you have to be confident that it’s the right one, because there’s no turning back.

Let’s take a closer look…

Mac Compatible?

It’s no secret that Microsoft and Apple don’t have that much time for each other, and, when IT comes to Office 365’s OneDrive for Business, Microsoft doesn’t have any time for the Mac at all. This indeed might be a deal breaker for some people. OneDrive is a flagship product, and IT is true that Microsoft have recognised the fact that they are missing out on a huge market share here. So the message is that IT will eventually be compatible. So, in this instance at least, we have to say that Google Apps wins this round for now.


Office 365 is available to the user everywhere – including on tablets. And it’s the full-blown version of Microsoft Office at that – not the MS Office Lite of yesteryear. Furthermore, IT is fully compatible with desktop versions of Office, and up to 5 licences can be installed on other devices and tablets. If you want email with Office 365, then you can have IT at the same price as you would pay for Google Apps for Business. Google Docs, which is Google’s version of Microsoft Office, quite simply is nothing in comparison. IT doesn’t even come close, in my opinion. Office 365 wins this round.

Integration and Sync

A lot of products that are cloud-based are not – as yet – syncing with Office 365. Much more are syncing with Google Apps at the time of writing. So, if you are running a cloud-based practice management system, you will absolutely need to check the integrations with all products that you are planning on using. So, this one is a purely a numbers game, and so it’s Google Apps that wins for now.

Web Interface

The interface for Google Apps is the Gmail interface. A lot of people like it, but some just can’t seem to get on with IT all. Office 365 now uses the new Outlook Web Access interface, which is very good indeed. IT looks a lot like Outlook in fact, which has been very popular for a very long time. Both Office 365 and Google Apps will sync to Outlook, however, which is great news if that’s what you prefer. Can’t really pick a winner on this one – it’s a draw.

So Who Wins?

Well, Google Apps is just about pipping IT from what I’ve highlighted in this mini horse race. But, at the end of the day, it’s a decision that your business is going to have to take some quite serious thought over. Put simply, Office 365 is rather rich and complex, whereas Google Apps is more lean and simple. There isn’t a lot of price difference between the two, so your decision will in the end come down to which features you need, and which ones you can do without.

InfoWorld did a similar head to head between these two cloud office systems, and so, to finish, I reproduce here the table that they put together for you to mull over.

Are you currently faced with the choice between Office 365 and Google Apps? Get in touch to speak to one of our team to find out how we can help you with your decision and all of your cloud office needs.

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