Cloud Computing Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365

When companies are in the market to provide the best technology (both hardware & software) for their employees to most effectively execute day to day business, there are a number of perspectives to consider. Each perspective may have differing priorities, values and expectations and each have validity. Typically those in the executive ranks will have a keen eye on bottom line…how much will this cost us? The Tech crowd is less concerned with finance and prefer to focus on what works the best, breaks the least and is easiest to administrate. The good CEO will look for an empowering solution for all people groups under their purview.

The key to success will come from a shared vision of doing what is best for the corporation’s mission. If the IT Director can providing a Win-Win solution for management and staff alike, success is much easier to achieve.


As cloud computing has progressed there are two competitors that have risen to the top of the heap, Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365. If you are wondering which direction to go, maybe a brief delving into both will aid in your choosing.

Here is a chart to give you an idea of what the names and functions are of each between Google Apps and Office 365.


As you can see each company covers the basics of corporate computing. The mitigating factors come down to:

–          What are your company’s needs?

–          Which  apps have the functionality most need?

–          What is your budget?

–          What will be your best choice for a favorable ROI?


Ease of Use

Between Google apps & Office 365, Google is by far the easiest to manage with a simple pricing structure for their standard Business Package – $5/User/Month or $50/User/Year. With the Basic Business Package your user number is virtually unlimited. Their Advanced Package posts at $10/User/Month but does ask you to contact their Sales Dept. for further pricing information. Office 365 has numerous versions (6 – Office 365 Plans) and the plans vary in cost, number of users, and off-line v on-line usage (desktop apps). Googles apps are all web based and are somewhat compatible with MS Office apps.


Google Apps has 30GB of space which is spread amongst the user’s Gmail, Drive and Picasa. Office 365 gives users 25GB in SkyDrive and 50GB of space in Outlook. Both companies will give freebies; Google provides 15GB of drive space and Microsoft will give you 7GB. Both vendors will sell you additional space if needed whether you’re a free or a business user.


This is where there is a marked difference between the two products. Google’s Privacy Policy says they can use information they collect from you for advertising purposes. Microsoft’s privacy policy says they do not scan your data or provide information to third parties.  Still both companies can be forced to provide your data to the government if required to do so. That leaves you have to decide how much of a priority privacy is for you and your company. This will also impact your customers, vendors, and the way your employees use each product.

Personal Preference

I have used both MS Office and Google Apps. I began, as with most people, with Office and eventually began to use the Google Apps as a way to share and store on-line for work and personal use. Depending upon the user people will have more or less comfort with the different products. There is a tradeoff between Google & Office 365. Although they have similar features on paper, and both score well when rated, they can be very different in real world use.

I find Excel to be a much better app than Sheets; is this due to personal preference or a feature based assessment? Probably both in my case, I’m used to Excel, I’m busy and find it easier to default to the app I know best rather than learn all the features of a new app. When it comes to email I have come to really appreciate Gmail. I started off with Outlook (desktop version), and it does in my experience have more features that Gmail, that I initially hated to surrender. But I had several experiences with being unable to get my Outlook to work and found having a Gmail account invaluable. I have also used Outlook OWA and find it comparable to Gmail.

Your experience will vary from mine as will each users’, all of this should be considered if you are choosing a cloud based system of computing.


As I read through multiple reviews and comparisons of Google Apps and MS Office 365 I found a reviewer-Scott Matteson- who best encapsulated the ideas behind a comparison of both products, so I’ll leave you with his words. Have a great day.

“There are plenty of other features and categories which are similar or different between Google Apps and Office 365, of course – mobile apps and connectivity, document sharing, instant messenger tie-ins, and dozens of other topics. The field is always changing as each vendor updates and improves their services, so if you’re in the market for online productivity apps I recommend you keep an eye on the Google Apps and Office 365 product pages to stay as current as possible – and read independent reviews as often as possible.”