Do you remember the epic Microsoft vs. Apple fights? How about the late 90s TV movie which depicted Bill Gates and Steve Jobs screaming at each other like cackling mega-villains? Back in the 1990s, I was a devoted Microsoft fan, due to my fondness for Windows and my fascination (actually, more of a girlish crush – I was an odd teenager) with Bill Gates. Soon enough, the young upstart with the funny name – Giggle? Gaggle? Oh! Google – entered the market. Since it was just a vssearch mechanism it didn’t seem on the same playing field as Microsoft or Apple.

Fast forward 15 years. I’m typing this on Google Docs on my PC laptop running Windows while my iPhone headphones are in my ears. Google has grown to rival the big players in the computer world. Especially for applications necessary for the typical working life. Microsoft Outlook vs. Gmail. Word vs. Google Docs. Excel vs. Sheets.

When it comes to choosing a system to use for work computer needs (not much work is done without computers these days), you have two great options in Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work. Let’s explore both a bit further to see which will be best for you.


You’ve probably used Microsoft Outlook at work before, whether a current or past job. You probably have a Gmail address for your personal account. Both email systems are massive and comfortable to users.

Gmail is known for its strong filtering capability, making it a lot easier for you to sort through your likely massive inbox. You can filter messages by sender and keywords (in body or subject line), as well as by attachments. It’s easy to label messages and sort them into categories of differing importance or topics. You can even use the filters automatically delete certain types of emails or send an autoresponse. Gmail also automatically filters emails for likely important messages – it looks at who you email and which emails you open most to learn what’s important to you.

Outlook also has filtering options, but not quite as advanced or user friendly (although a lot closer than it used to be). It uses Folders to allow you to sort emails into different categories. Similar to Gmail’s learning capacity, Outlook learns by your actions which emails are unlikely to be useful and sorts them into Clutter folders.

Both Outlook and Gmail offer many extensions to improve your email experience. Outlook offers a Tasks tab where you can input detailed information about various tasks, including reminders and time worked. You can easily connect to Skype to continue email conversations through chatting. The Office Store also offers more than 100 add-ins to enhance the Outlook experience, including Boomerang which allows you to set a reminder to return to an email at a specific time.

Gmail also has a Tasks option, but it doesn’t allow for the same level of detail of Outlook’s Tasks system. It’s more of a simple to-do list. Also similar to Outlook is the incorporation of Hangouts into Gmail. You can add lots of extensions through Chrome as well, including Boomerang. Another cool extension is MXHero, which enables emails to self-destruct five minutes after they’re read. This is great if you are emailing sensitive information that you don’t want spread around easily.

Spreadsheets, Documents, and Presentations

blogging-computer-female-girl-internet-isolatedThe key features that most people use from Microsoft Office on the desktop are Excel, Word, and Powerpoint. For two decades, no office has been complete without these products. Google has now entered the field with Sheets, Docs, and Slides. While these are all separate products with different purposes, the comparisons between desktop Office vs. Office Online vs. Google are fairly similar, so we’ll tackle them together.

Where Google excels is in collaboration. It’s easy to share files with an entire group. Not only that, but multiple people can edit documents at the same time. Plus, you can have group comments to discuss the progress of the spreadsheet or presentation or documents. You can also easily track changes over time with Revision History. You’ll know when changes were made and who made them. You can restore the document to a previous version at any time.

Excel, Word, and Powerpoint are huge programs that enable you to do practically anything. For example, someone even managed to recreate the Mona Lisa using Excel! Microsoft has also created a more basic version of their programs to compete with Google Apps for Work. They added an “Online” next to the names of the products ( Excel Online, Word Online, Powerpoint Online). Not the most creative naming, but very to the point.

The Office Online products function similarly to the Google products. They offer collaborations options as well as easy access on mobile devices. Neither Google Apps for Work not Office Online can compete with the complexities offered by the desktop Microsoft Office. But for those who want simple, user friendly, and collaborative products, both Google Apps and Office Online are good choices.


economic-coin-business-money-graph-calculatorsIn general, Google has the upper hand when it comes to pricing. However, Microsoft has put together a competitive option with Office Online products. As is typical, the more you pay, the more options you get.

Here are the basics of pricing across the products.

Google Apps for Work

  • $5 per user per month
    • Documents, spreadsheets, and slides
    • 30 GB online storage
    • Video and voice calls
    • 24/7 customer support
  • $10 per user per month
    • Everything in the $5 version plus –
    • Unlimited storage (if fewer than 5 users, only 1 TB per user)
    • Google Vault which allows eDiscovery of all documents, emails, files, and chats
    • Can search and export to different formats
    • Ability to place and enforce litigation holds on inboxes

Office 365

  • Business Essentials: $6 per user per month
    • Only $5 per user per month with an annual commitment
    • Limited to Office Online
    • 50 GB mail storage
    • 1 TB file storage
    • Video conferencing
  • Business: $10 per user per month
    • Only $8.25 per user per month with an annual commitment
    • Full version of Office on desktops, plus mobile apps
    • Email not included
    • 1 TB file storage
  • Business Premium: $15 per user per month
    • Only $12.50 per user per month with an annual commitment
    • Full version of Office on desktops, plus mobile apps
    • 50 GB email storage
    • 1 TB file storage

The business world should have an annual Google/Microsoft Celebration holiday. The emergence of Google as a key player in Office software has made Microsoft up its game. In the end, everyone wins with better products with more options at better prices. The product that is best for your company depends on your needs as well as your price flexibility. Regardless, it’s wonderful to have choices.

Are you having a hard time choosing the best office software for your company? Looking for more help in comparing Google and Microsoft? We’ll help you find the best options for your needs. Get in touch with us today via Facebook or LinkedIn or fill out our Contact form for a FREE consultation!

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