Google Apps came out well before Office 365 and started stealing some of the market away from Microsoft's flagship Office product because it was (and still is for non business accounts) completely free. If you think about the cost per computer to install Office (before Office 365) you were looking at anywhere from $150 - $500 per machine!
It makes sense why so many individuals and small businesses quickly jumped ship from Microsoft and moved over to Google Apps. Potentially saving thousands of dollars.
Google then came out with Google Apps for Work. This is an enhanced version of the standard Google Apps system that is much more robust with solutions designed for business including:
- Business email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Video and voice calls
- Integrated online calendars
- 30GB of online storage for file syncing and sharing
- Online text documents, spreadsheets and slides
- Easy to create project sites
- Security and admin controls
- 24/7 phone and email support
All this for only $5 per user. Or there is the unlimited storage and vault version for $10 per user which includes everything above PLUS:
- Unlimited Storage (or 1TB per user if fewer than 5 users)
- Advanced admin controls for Drive
- Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing
- Google Vault for eDiscovery covering emails, chats, docs and files
- Easily search and export to different formats
- Archive all emails sent by your company
- Set message retention policies
- Place and enforce litigation holds on inboxes
So if you were Microsoft and started to see your market share declining because of this new inexpensive solution that doesn't require any software to be downloaded, installed, upgraded, tweaked or configured much at all, I'm sure you'd be sweating and losing sleep at night as well.
Enter Microsoft's answer to Google Apps. Office 365 now gives consumers and business owners an inexpensive way to get the full version of Microsoft Office on all their computers for one low monthly fee. In addition, you get online versions of the software, hosted exchange service and a whole lot more.
Depending on the version you choose you'll get a number of options for yourself or your business. Here's a link to the comparison page between the business versions of Office 365: https://products.office.com/en-ca/business/compare-more-office-365-for-business-plans.
For around $15 a month you'll get the same locally installed Office you've come to rely on over the years and never have to worry about being out of date so long as you maintain your subscription.
You always have access to the latest version and the huge bonus is Microsoft hosted exchange service which will sync your contacts, calendar, tasks email and more across all your devices. Your data is stored in the cloud so you won't need to be concerned about backing up your Outlook information.
In conclusion when it comes to the Google Apps vs Office 365 decision, consider how your business is running presently. What technology do you use now? If you and your staff are already used to the Microsoft Office applications or you use software such as QuickBooks or Sage 50 that integrates with Microsoft Office programs, I'd recommend sticking with what you're used to and going with Office 365.
On the other hand if you're a smaller company and aren't heavily integrated with Office programs then certainly go for Google Apps. With Google Apps your entire team can work together, share files and email accounts, collaborate on projects and much more all for a mere $5 a month per account.
Google is incredibly innovative and always coming out with new add-ins for Gmail along with thousands of third party developers building apps to enhance your Google Apps experience.
Whatever you choose, consider the impact on staff as there is a fairly hefty learning curve when switching from one to the other or from the familiar Microsoft Office products to Google Apps. Be sure to factor in IT support costs to make the transition if not doing it yourself.