G Suite vs Office 365

G Suite (previously called Google Apps for Work) and Microsoft’s Office 365 offer similar set of productivity tools. Which one should you choose for your small business in 2019?

Plug: TeamWave – Simple CRM, Project Management & HR Software for G Suite

1. Cost and Commitment

G Suite has straightforward pricing with two plans: $5/user and $10/user (monthly)

First plan offers:

  • Company email addresses (name@company.com)
  • Video/voice calls
  • Integrated online calendars
  • 30GB online storage with option to sync and share files
  • Online documents, presentations and spreadsheets
  • Easy to create project sites
  • Security settings and admin control panel
  • Support via phone/email (24/7)

Second plan offers unlimited storage with vault:

  • Unlimited Storage (or 1TB per user if fewer than 5 members)
  • Advanced admin control panel for Google Drive
  • Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing
  • Google Vault for eDiscovery across emails, docs and chats
  • Searching and exporting to different formats
  • Email archiving
  • Retention policies for messages
  • Option to place and enforce litigation holds on inboxes

Office 365 has complex pricing plans:

  • Office 365 Business Essentials  ($5.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Business  ($8.25/user/month)
  • Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50/user/month)
  • Office 365 ProPlus  ($12.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1 ($8.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E3 ($20.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E5 ($35.00/user/month)

Without going to the detailed offerings of each plan, we’ll check out the comparable plans from Office 365 and G Suite:

  • $5/user/month plan offered by Google and $5/user/month‘Business Essentials’ plan offered by Microsoft
  • $10/user/month ‘Unlimited’ plan offered by Google and $8/user/month ‘Enterprise E1’ offered by Microsoft

Office 365 Business Essentials will cost $5/user/month with annual subscription, where as the monthly subscription will cost $6/user/month. Essentially you’ll save $1 user/month with G suite. Office 365 ‘Enterprise E1’ will cost $2 less than G Suite Unlimited.

2. Email

Although both Gmail and Office 365 offer clean interface, the major differentiation lies in the way emails are organised – Gmail lets you apply multiple labels to an email and Office 365 has classical folder structure to categorise emails. In terms of storage space, Gmail offers 30 GB (across Gmail and Drive) and Microsoft offers dedicated 50GB inbox in addition to 1TB storage. Microsoft’s Enterprise E3 ($20/user/month) offers unlimited storage.

3. Applications

Microsoft offers desktop versions of their products along with cloud based apps. You’ll be able to install the full versions of Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook etc. on your laptop/desktop and work offline.

Google apps were developed from scratch only for cloud-based collaboration. For example, Google Docs lets users make permanent changes in the file and provide feedback on the content in the “suggestion” mode (helps the author approve the final edits). Here are some of the advanced functionality offered by Google as part of the latest update:

  • Machine intelligence in Google Calendar to quickly find a time when invitees are free
  • Natural Language Processing in Google Sheets to
  • Machine intelligence in Google Docs to automatically recommend related topics to learn more and insert images
  • Dynamic layout suggestions in Google Slides
  • Better file management and granular content ownership with a focus on team in Google Drive

4. Video Call

Both Google Apps and Office 365 offer video conferencing solutions via Hangouts and Skype respectively. Here are the

  • Most important thing to note here is that Microsoft has not yet fully integrated Skype with other apps offered by Office 365 and Yammer.  But, Hangouts has tight integration with other Google apps like Docs, Calendar, Maps along with social networks like YouTube
  • Skype Translator can help you communicate in 8 languages for voice calls (near real-time), and in more than 50 languages while instant messaging
  • The maximum number of participants allowed in Hangout is 50, where as Skype has 250 as the upper limit

5. Third-party Integration

You’ll be hard pushed to find apps these days that don’t claim to integrate with G Suite. Google’s integration with CRM, productivity and customer service software means you have many options. For example, TeamWave (Project management, CRM & HR software for small business) is fully integrated with GDrive, Google Hangouts, etc.

There are some very popular productivity apps that do not have integration with Office 365 because Microsoft is not perceived as developer friendly (in comparison to Google)

6. Security

Office 365 comes with Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) – a new email filtering service that provides additional protection by targeting specific advanced threats like unknown malware and viruses, real-time, time-of-click protection against malicious URLs.

Google uses its robust machine learning capabilities to detect suspicious logins and block most advanced types of spam. Note that Google also automatically scans every email attachment before a user downloads it in order to prevent spread of viruses.

7. Compatibility

Microsoft files can be uploaded to Google Drive, but a lot of features won’t be supported by Google and formatting will be lost as well. G Suite Sync for Outlook can sync your mail, contacts, calendar events, Outlook notes, and tasks between your Google profile in Outlook and your G Suite account in the cloud.

You can download Google Drive files (docs, spreadsheets, slides, etc.) to your desktop and easily edit them with Office apps.

8. Support

Both Google Apps and Office 365 offer 24/7 phone support in English and depending on the country, language can change. While email support is available for both products; Google provides additional support via live chat. You can also access forums to seek clarification, give feedback and request additional functionality.

9. Storage Options

All of the plans offered by Office 365 come with 1TB storage for each user, where as Google’s starter plan gives 30GB. Note that Google considers email storage as part of the 30 GB quota.

But, if you go for the G Suite Unlimited, storage-wise it’ll offer better solutions in comparison to all the plans offered by Microsoft. This will be really helpful if your company handles large audio/video files.

Bottom Line

If you are a small business (1-50 people) then go with G Suite.

Reasons to choose G Suite:

  • File storage: G Suite’s unlimited plan provides better value in terms of data storage
  • Scalability: You’ll be able to add unlimited users (the ‘Business’ plans by Office 365 have maximum limit of 300 users)
  • Collaboration: Google apps were built with a strong focus on collaboration
  • Usability: G Suite apps are easy-to-use and the loading time is also less in comparison to Office 365
  • Multi device: If your business uses various operating systems and devices, then Google is a better choice
  • Integration: Majority of third party apps offer native integration with G Suite, as Google has traditionally been developer-friendly


This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Dathatreya

    Very Good , Why are you specific to ( If you are a small business (1-50 people) then go with G Suite.)

    1. shuhaibs

      Our analysis: One size doesn’t fit all. Microsoft’s solutions are a good fit for enterprise companies. For smaller companies, Google Suite is the better solution.

      1. Stephanie

        Please elaborate on this answer. From this article it looks like G Suite is the best option, period. why is Microsoft better for larger companies?

  2. Fredrik Johansson

    If you do business in China you should be aware of the fact that G-Suite doesn’t work at all. You cannot even access your email without struggling with VPN connections, and the Chinese authorities will actually be even harder on VPNs now. I’m actually looking for an alternative to G-Suite that we use now for this single reason. Or do you have a good solution for using G-Suite in China?

  3. Carsten Sørensen

    If you ever used Exchange as backend Service for E-mail, you will never wish to go back to IMAP protocol. As I have never seen IMAP support sync for contacts and calender. O365 with any plan with Exchange and Office Pack, you get it all. Full sync of every feature : e-mail, contacts, calender, tasks.

  4. Gilbert Ohana

    This is a very one-sided review (Google side). Google files can be easily edited in Office? Not so true. You might loose formatting. Google G Suite doesn’t have a desktop edition (big disadvantage). Office files is the De-Facto standard (sending and sharing docs, spreadsheets and presentations).

    We are a small company of 10 people, who want to produce, share and collaborate. The size is not an issue but functionality is. Not saying Office 365 is better, but surely this is not a “Google knockout”.

  5. Paul O'Brien

    It’s Google G Suite every time for me, I’ve tried 365 and couldn’t get on with it

  6. Justin Mi

    Biggest advantage of G Suite is that you get all that free publicity in your mailbox (and social media). No general publicity but finely tuned to what is of interest to you, all this thanks to the thorough and continuous analysis of all data you put on Google servers.

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