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Compare Office 365 to G Suite

If you’re in the market for a productivity solution, you probably already know the two major players in the market are Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite. But how do you know which one is the right choice for you? As they’ve evolved over the last several years, both tools have added a great deal of new features and become increasingly similar. So, choosing between them can be difficult. Let’s start with what they have in common. 

Office 365 and G Suite both include

Business email and calendar tools that use your own custom domain.

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Apps for creating and collaborating on presentations, spreadsheets and documents.

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Chat, online meetings and video conferencing tools to make collaboration quicker and easier.

An admin interface where your business can set policies for security, compliance and archiving.

Robust, very reliable cloud infrastructures with data centers scattered worldwide for true anytime, anywhere access.

Office 365 Versus G Suite, How They Differ

Deployment and File Compatibility

Their major difference lies in the way their delivery methods. Google’s G Suite is 100% cloud-based. There is no software to install. With Microsoft Office 365, you can work entirely in the cloud, or you can work both in the cloud and locally, with software installed directly on your device. Choosing which delivery method is best is a subjective decision and depends on how your team likes to work. Do they enjoy being able to do everything from their web browser? Or do they prefer the traditional desktop software experience?

Also, another point worth considering is this. What platform do your business partners use? If they use Microsoft Office and you use G Suite, you may not always get full file fidelity when passing items back and forth. Google has made great strides in its compatibility with Microsoft Office files in the last few years, but some Office document features sometimes still don’t translate without error.

System Administrator Experience

Another notable difference between these two powerhouse productivity suites is in the administrative tools they offer. Just as Microsoft Exchange has always offered very granular administrative controls that may look complex to the uninitiated, Microsoft Office 365 does the same. Google G Suite’s administrative controls are not as granular. Thus, they may feel less intimidating to someone without a background in IT.

Pricing and Packages

Overall, the cost for Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite is similar. Microsoft Office 365 plans run from $5 a month per user (for the most basic small business plan) to $35 a month per user (for the top tier enterprise plan). Google G Suite plans range from $6 a user per month to $25 a user per month.
Where they differ more widely, is in the number of plans buyers can choose from. Microsoft offers eight plans for small businesses and enterprises, with additional options for educational institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and first-line workers. Google offers just three plans for buyers to choose from. Again, which one is better for you will depend on your perspective. Some see the wide variety of plans offered by Microsoft as confusing, whereas others feel having only three plans to choose from with Google G Suite is too limiting.

All G Suite plans include

  • Business email
  • Chat, voice and video conferencing
  • Shared calendars
  • Google apps (sheets, slides and docs)
  • 30 GB (or more) of cloud file storage
  • Admin and security controls

G Suite Plans Overview

Plan Price per month What you need to know
G Suite Basic $6 per user

Designed for the smallest businesses, this plan includes:

  • Gmail (with a custom
  • domain)
  • Access to Google docs, sheets and slides,
  • video and voice conferencing
  • 30 GB of cloud storage per user to share between Gmail and your Google Drive.
  • Monthly billing
  • The option to add additional licenses, as your needs change
G Suite Business $12 per user

This plan includes everything in the basic plan, plus:

  • Enhanced administration and security controls
  • Archiving and eDiscovery
  • Upgraded cloud storage space with 1 TB per user (if you have less than five seats). Cloud storage becomes unlimited when you have 6 or more users.
  • Teams Drive access (a tool that allows groups of staff to share documents)
G Suite Enterprise $25 per user

Everything in G Suite Business, plus these enhanced security features:

  • Support for hardware-based security keys
  • S/MIME encryption
  • Ability to lock share files
  • Email and image scanning to look for leaks of sensitive or confidential information

All Microsoft Office 365 Plans Include 

  • Exchange Online email hosting (max inbox size varies from 50 to 100 gigs depending on plan) 
  • Web based versions of Outlook, Excel, Word and PowerPoint 
  • 1 TB (minimum file storage space in OneDrive for Business) 
  • SharePoint Online team sites 
  • Online meetings 
  • HD videoconferencing 
  • Secure collaboration and messaging with Microsoft Teams 
  • Administrative and security controls 

Other Tools Included in Business Level Plans 

  • Outlook customer manager (a simple CRM system) 
  • Microsoft Bookings 
  • Microsoft Invoicing 
  • Mile IQ 

Other Tools Included in Enterprise-Level Plans 

  • Microsoft Planner (for team-based task management) 
  • Microsoft Yammer 
  • Email retention and eDiscovery control 
  • Advanced threat protection 
  • Microsoft Stream (video streaming service for training, on demand and live events) 

Besides all of this, all but the lowest level business package (Business Essentials) offers desktop versions of the popular Microsoft Office suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Access) for users to install on up to 15 devices. 

Office 365 Plans Overview

Plan  Price per month  What you need to know 
Business Essentials  $5 per user (annual commitment)  Best for small businesses that just need email plus the ability to create spreadsheets, documents and presentations online (using a PC or mobile device) 
Business Premium  $12.50 per user (annual commitment) 

Everything in the Business Essentials plan plus: 

 

  • Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher desktop apps 
Microsoft 365 Business  $20 per user (annual commitment) 

Everything in the Business Premium plan plus: 

  • Tools to manage and secure your employees mobile devices and PCs 
  • Advanced threat protection 
Business Apps  $8.25 per user (annual commitment) 

Best for businesses that do not need email, SharePoint or Teams, but need: 

  • Cloud file storage and sharing 
  • Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher desktop apps 
Office 365 Pro Plus  $12 per user (annual commitment)  Great for larger organizations (over 300 seats) who would like to replace their traditional Microsoft Office software license with an Office 365 subscription. Includes unlimited OneDrive for Business storage when you have five users +. 
Office 365 E1  $8 per user (annual commitment) 

Microsoft’s entry-level enterprise plan. It includes: 

  • All Office 365 cloud services (email, file sharing and collaboration, video streaming and more) 
  • 50 GB mailbox storage per user 
  • 1 TB OneDrive for Business storage per user 
Office 365 E3  $20 per user (annual commitment) 

Everything in E1 plus: 

  • Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher desktop apps 
  • Increased mailbox size of 100 GB per user 
  • Unlimited OneDrive storage 
  • eDiscovery capabilities 
Office 365 E5  $35 per user (annual commitment) 

Everything in E3 plus: 

  • Advanced threat protection 
  • Office 365 cloud apps security 
  • Support for unified communications plans which integrate with some conventional phone systems 

Still not sure which Microsoft Office 365 plan would fit your business best? Dig deeper into the options with this detailed comparison chart.

User Ratings and Reviews 

How do actual users and software editors rank each productivity platform across the most popular rating and review sites? 

Microsoft Office 365

out of five stars on G2

out of five stars on Capterra

out of five stars on Tech Radar

out of five stars on Get App

I have used Office 365 for both personal use and for deployment for clients and I can boldly say that there is nothing quite like Office 365 and clients always almost never have negatives [to say] for this suite. Many of them categorically ask for Office 365 and won’t settle for another. It is a complete catalyst for productivity outside the pricing.” – Deba Omoluru, Office 365 user in the Oil and Gas Industry for 2+ years

G Suite

out of five stars on G2

out of five stars on Capterra

out of five stars on Tech Radar

out of five stars on Get App

Overall, my experience with G Suite has been such an adventure. The structure allows for safety but there is so much within the suite that your imagination is honestly the only limit. Because there are so many pieces that can be integrated, changed and work together, I believe that G Suite has brought out a different way of thinking for me that allows me to think about process, procedures and customer satisfaction and streamlining all in one. I have had so much learning and playing and growing with the suite.” – Nathaly Wheller, G Suite user in the Utilities Industry for 2+ years 

The Bottom Line 

As these tools have both grown and matured over the last several years, the decision to go with Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite has become less a question of features and more a question of culture. Whether you’re buying your first productivity suite or you’re looking to make a change from installing Microsoft Office on each of your employee’s workstations, here are some questions to ask yourself. 

What is your company’s work style? Is yours a young company filled with millennial’s who are comfortable in the cloud and appreciate the work anywhere lifestyle it affords them? Or are you an established business whose employees have been working with the venerable Office suite for decades? 

Not that a staff of millennial’s won’t enjoy using Office 365 or that individuals who’ve spent most of their careers using Microsoft Office can enjoy working in G Suite. Of course, they can. Just keep in mind that switching from one tool to another might require a little change management to help your employees adapt their way of thinking and how they work. 

Want to Learn More About Office 365?

As a leading Microsoft partner and vendor of technology solutions for small and medium-size businesses, we can give you the tools you need to collaborate and communicate more easily and effectively in today’s connected business world.