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Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace, What's The Real Difference?

Kosh Solutions knows one of the toughest questions for any company or work team is to decide on a business productivity tool. This is because, usually, the whole team will use them once one is selected. As the business grows, it becomes harder and harder to change.

Most business decision-makers tend to find it hard to decide between Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. Both are very competitive cloud-based solutions that can work with all businesses, big or small. They are very similar as well. However, what's the real difference between them?

The major differences between Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are the availability of desktop apps, storage, templates, cost, and email functionalities. These differences may help you make a better call for your business.


This article explores Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace and tries to see how they are different from each other. We also give our opinion about which is better within each of the categories.

TL;DR

Kosh Solutions recommends companies use Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace. In our 15+ years of managing business’ technology, we’ve seen Microsoft not only leading in the business segment but also providing a stable product that enables company growth.

Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace

The section below compares Microsoft 365 to Google Workspace in terms of ease of use, email, apps, security, collaboration, and cost. We then give our opinion regarding which may be better and why.

The tables and information below should help you decide which platform to use for your business.

Ease Of Use

​Platform

Strengths

​Weaknesses

Microsoft 365

  • Familiarity

  • Better app features

  • ​It may be too powerful

  • More complicated to learn

Google Workspace

  • ​More intuitive

  • Simpler apps to use and master

  • ​Not suitable for power users

When looking at ease of use, on the surface, both platforms are straight forward to use. However, the reason they may feel easy to use may be different, and the difference may help you to make your decision.

Microsoft 365 may be easy to use because it comes with the Office productivity software that has been around for decades - think Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and many more. Many have used these apps, which instantly provides that familiarity for most people.

Google Workspace provides similar applications, but they’re different in the functions they provide. Apps such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides may not have been around for as long as Microsoft apps, but they look similar enough to Microsoft’s apps that a user can typically switch between the platforms with little friction. However, the Google apps are not as loaded with features as their Microsoft counterparts.

If users have little experience with either platform the learning curve will be relatively similar. However if a user has extensive experience with one platform switching to the other will not be impossible, it will just take some effort. For basic functionality both platforms are very similar and some users will not need the advanced features and functionality of the Microsoft suite. However power users who are used to the advanced features and functionality of the Microsoft suite will be hindered by switching.

Another way to look at the term ease of use is efficiency and functionality. In that case, the more powerful features of Microsoft’s applications make Microsoft 365 the clear winner. As of now, 365 is simply packed with features Google doesn’t have.

Google Workspace Is Easier To Use. Small or growing businesses, in general, may not need very powerful apps. This means the focus may be more on providing applications that are easier to learn and master (less options = less complicated).

However, if you are working with power users needing more app features, then go for Microsoft 365.

Email

Platform

Strengths

Weaknesses

Microsoft 365

  • Higher storage

  • Collaboration features

  • More complicated to master

Google Workspace

  • Familiarity

  • Simpler to use

  • Less storage

  • 2,000 emails daily only


When it comes to email, the overall impression may be similar to the apps as well. Microsoft 365's business email comes with higher storage at 50GB (more advanced packages increase that limit to 100GB); your attachments count towards this storage space, not your cloud storage space.

Google's email gives you only 30GB, and you are limited to sending 2,000 emails daily, while Microsoft does not. I don’t know anyone that’s sending more than 2,000 emails per day from their personal account, so you should be good with either option.

Microsoft's business email also comes with better collaboration features since it allows granting and controlling access. This is helpful for teams with members that need to manage multiple calendars and locations, such as booking meeting rooms. We use this feature all the time to book meetings internally and externally.

However, Google Workspace's email wins big in one area - familiarity. This is because many people will have already used the free Gmail for personal emailing. This means switching to Google business email will be very easy.

However, being easy may mean it needs to improve on features and custom controls that Microsoft's business email has. This means if you work with a more professional team consisting of power users, Google mail may not be the right choice.

I will dive in to Apps in the next section but it is worth addressing Outlook in this section. Outlook is by far the leading application used to access email. Outlook is a Microsoft application and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft email. Many users who use Gmail try to integrated Gmail with Outlook. Tying Gmail to Outlook can be done but the integration is not seamless, and problems can arise.

Microsoft 365 Has Better Email. Email is the lifeblood of any business. For a few more dollars per user, you can get business-class functionality. Email is probably an area you don’t want to skimp on. Microsoft 365's business email is the clear winner. It packs more storage and collaborative features and will suit most business teams.

Apps

Platform

Strengths

Weaknesses

Microsoft 365

  • Familiarity with apps

  • Desktop version available

  • More complicated to learn

Google Workspace

  • Simpler to use

  • Fewer features

  • Does not have the desktop version

Regarding apps, both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer similar applications. For word processing, there are Microsoft Word and Google Docs. For spreadsheets, there are Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. For slides, there are Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides.

All these apps are also offered via the cloud and may be accessed through the web browser, iOS app, and Android app.

The main difference between the two is desktop access and functions. In this case, Microsoft 365's apps perform much better. This is because you can download Microsoft 365's apps, install them on your computer, and use them. This means you can actually work offline with Microsoft 365's apps.

Google Workspace's apps do not allow this. All their apps need to be accessed online, via the web browser, or as iOS or Android apps. This means you cannot download and install the app on your computer. This is one of the most significant differences between both platforms.

The closest to working offline with Google Workspace is you can install a browser extension, which allows you to work offline. However, you still need to use a web browser.

Another aspect of the apps is the functions and features. In this area, Microsoft's apps perform better. They have more functions and are more suitable for power users who want more customized functions.

Google's apps may be less powerful, but they are easier to use and may be less intimidating to new users. This may be a strong point for you to consider as well.

Microsoft 365 Has Better Apps. Microsoft's apps are just simply better in almost all aspects. It has better accessibility, functions, and features, and many will be familiar with how they work. By a slim margin, Google's apps may win on ease of use.

Security

Both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer competitive security features. Unless you are very technical with IT, you may assume they offer a similar level of protection for your business.

Microsoft 365 offers Exchange Online Protection (EOP), which is a system to help protect your emails. The EOP helps protect your emails from spam, malware, or other threats. Aside from that, with Microsoft you have control over access by setting up custom permissions and security groups. At Kosh we use the custom permissions and role-based access controls all the time. Granular control of who is allowed to access what information is something most businesses would use.

With the business-class licenses, you get advanced threat protection. These include identity and access management, data loss prevention, and Microsoft Security and Compliance Center.

You also have access to Microsoft's Defender antivirus program and the Microsoft Device Guard. These systems should form your basic protection system to help defend your windows device from viruses, malware, trojans, spyware, or other nasty programs.

For Google, you get protection for your email, apps, and account in many ways similar to Microsoft 365. For emails, expect to be able to use features such as multi-factor authentication Advanced Protection Program. You also can set up group-based policy controls to manage who can access files.

There is also Endpoint management available, as well as Vault, a service to help you store, archive, and search for files and data. Vault is available at the Business Plus account level.

With Google Workspace, you can use the Secure Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). This system allows you to connect your LDAP-based services and apps to Cloud Identity and Google Workspace.

If you upgrade to the Enterprise edition, you get the best of Google's protections, such as data loss prevention or Secure or Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (S/MIME). The S/MIME is an encryption system that protects your emails from being read by others should they be intercepted.

Both Are Secure And Safe. Unless you are very technical and IT savvy, or you have very specific requirements for security for your business, you may assume both are equally good. Both also have systems in place to protect your emails and files from being infected with viruses or other malware among a host of security protocols.

Security is not a one size fits all. Just because a business has one of these platforms does not mean the security features are configured. With either Google or Microsoft these security settings MUST be configured to meet your business’s unique requirements. Work with your IT team to implement best practices for your business.

Collaboration Features

Platform

Strengths

Weaknesses

Microsoft 365

  • ​Widespread use in business

  • AI systems to make collaboration work easier

  • ​None found yet!

Google Workspace

  • Multiple users can work on files at the same time. However, this can also be done with Microsoft.

  • Less common in business and corporate settings

  • Lower conference call limits

Collaboration features here refer to the ability of both systems to manage work done by multiple people, working in the office or from home. This is something very crucial for any business since hybrid-mode working is common.

With Microsoft 365, what you get is a very common system used in many other businesses. This means that other people can easily open files, slides, and documents you created on your devices. This may be important if your business works collaboratively with external clients.

Aside from that, Microsoft Teams allows you to host up to 1000 people for meetings and up to 10,000 users using a “live event.” The Microsoft 365 apps also have AI systems to make collaborative work easier – like AI automated email reminders, suggested meeting times (I love this one!), and draft sync syncs your email drafts between multiple devices.

The best thing about Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 is that multiple people can work on a single document simultaneously, and the changes can be seen live. This makes it incredibly easy to collaboratively work on something. The work is also autosaved, and you have the option to accept or reject the work.

However, Google Workspace may not be as popular as Microsoft 365, so it may be harder to work with other businesses. There are such things as file format compatibility, but there is always a fear that things may go wrong if you save a Google Doc file as a Word file.

Microsoft 365 Is Better For Collaborative Work. Microsoft 365 allows you to be IT compatible with millions of businesses, as it is common for corporate or smaller businesses to use Microsoft.

Overall Cost

Platform

Plan

Features

Microsoft 365

Basic

$6 a month with an annual subscription. 1TB storage, business email, 300-person video conference, web, and mobile versions of Office suites such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook, Sharepoint, and Exchange.

Business Standard

​$12 a month with an annual subscription. Basic plans with additional access to add desktop apps. Additional Office apps, Access, and Publisher.

Business Premium

​$22 a month with an annual subscription. Business standard plan plus advanced security, ransomware, and phishing shield. Premium administration, tech, and billing support.

Google Workspace

Business Starter

$6 a month. Business email, 30GB cloud storage. Google’s suite of apps such as Docs, Sheets, Chat, etc.

Business Standard

$12 a month. Business Starter plan, plus a 2TB storage, and an archiving vault.

Business Plus

​$18 a month. Business Standard Plan, plus a 5TB storage. Enhanced security, eDiscovery and retention features.

Follow the link to see the latest prices and what is included with each Microsoft 365 license.

Compare All Microsoft 365 Plans | Microsoft

Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace start at $6 and offer services in different tiers and levels. As you move up, your monthly commitments also increase.

At higher tiers, the payments for Microsoft 365 actually become higher per person per month. For example, at the time of writing the monthly fees for business premium on Microsoft 365 are $22 per month. With Google Workspace, you pay $18 a month.

However, you get better features with Microsoft 365 with the additional $4 a month. For example, you get more storage space and a slew of security features.

On the other side, when you compare the cheapest plans, you actually get more with Microsoft 365 than Google Workspace. Specifically, storage. With a Microsoft 365 basic, you can access 1TB of cloud storage. With Google Workspace, you can only have 30GB of cloud storage.

Google Workspace Is More Cost-Effective. Google Workspace may be cost-effective because you can access all the apps and features by subscribing to the lowest plan. With Microsoft 365, you may get higher storage but only web access to some apps.

As a result, if you subscribe to Google Workspace, your business should be able to use it for a long time before considering upgrading.

Is Microsoft 365 Or Google Workspace Better For Business?

A small or one-person business may use Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. Either platform allows to web-based apps at the lowest price point. We recommend Microsoft 365 because it is a better fit for businesses that are growing and need more technical features.

Small, One-Person Business? Google Workspace. Google Workspace may work better for small businesses, solopreneurs, or non-tech startups. This is because it is affordable to start with and does not require high technical skills.

Suppose your business expands, and you have new team members. In that case, training and onboarding a new team member in Google Workspace settings is easier. The low cost also gives you access to all Google's apps.

Growing, Technical Business? Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 is popular for a reason. It’s used by millions of big and small businesses, which means if you use it, you’re in good company.

Microsoft 365 also has the flexibility to operate for small businesses or be scaled up to run a large corporation. When your business grows and expands, you may start to onboard more team members, which means your productivity suite must also match that. Microsoft 365 manages this better.



 
Disclaimer

The information contained in this communication is intended for limited use for informational purposes only. It is not considered professional advice, and instead, is general information that may or may not apply to specific situations. Each case is unique and should be evaluated on its own by a professional qualified to provide advice specifically intended to protect your individual situation. Kosh is not liable for improper use of this information.