It’s the IT debate of this decade: Google Apps vs. Office 365
The rivalry between Google Apps for Work and Office 365 in the world of cloud-based productivity suites has been a hot topic since the turn of the decade. The advantages & disadvantages of each have been examined by many decision makers who are trying to make sure their companies have the tools they need to succeed. But it boils down to one informal, all-important realization: professionals don’t use Google Apps. But why not?
In many arenas, both Office 365 and Google Apps for Work are good choices. Each offers 1 TB or more of storage, though Office 365 is more generous than Google in the entry plans. Each has a solid collaboration platform, as Google Apps was built with collaboration in mind and Office 365 uses Microsoft OneDrive for seamless file-sharing. And though Gmail would seem to give Google Apps the upper hand in terms of email, Outlook allows Office 365 to even up with Google Apps. Despite these similarities, the two suites diverge considerably, and this begins with a difference in approach.
Google’s approach to lure professionals away from the familiarity of Microsoft doomed it from the start. Rather than trying to compete with Microsoft on a features-level, Google chose to center their product around simplicity. However, widespread familiarity with Office products means that for many professionals, the Office interface and structure is already simple, or at least familiar enough to be intuitive.
Though Google’s uncluttered interface and quick-loading apps make it easy to get started, going beyond the basics is difficult in Google Apps. Sheets fundamentally lacks the power of Excel, making it a stretch to use anything more complicated than pivot tables, and Docs quickly crumbles under the weight of any document with heavy formatting. Office 365 also offers the desktop versions of their products in most of their plans, while Google Apps has no locally installable option, leaving users unable to work efficiently without Internet. Applications are arguably the most important factor in choosing a suite for a business—and there’s a reason Office files are ubiquitous in the professional world. In terms of applications, Google Apps just can’t compete.
The focus on ease of use has made Google Apps a viable choice for the average consumer, but the professional has different needs to consider. Office 365 offers a wealth of power and options that Google Apps simply doesn’t have, and any professional with even a passing familiarity with Office will find it straightforward to use. The driving force behind Office 365 is the power of options, while Google Apps is pushed by simplicity. Professionals need options, and Office 365 is the clear choice to provide them