Office 365 vs. Google Apps

If 2010 saw the wide adoption of cloud based email and collaboration software, 2011 was the year of "integrated" cloud solutions. Businesses want to avoid the "cloud sprawl" of managing multiple point cloud solutions and creating new data silos. They want to access email and other team collaboration tools from a single cloud suite.

The 2 giants of software are sparring in this arena with Office 365 and Google Apps. It has been identified a strategic battlefront, even as the larger "Google vs. Microsoft" war rages on. But to see this market as MS Office 365 vs. Google Apps play is myopic. The market also has smaller but more experienced players. We bring you a factual Office 365 vs. Google Apps comparison, also including HyperOffice, which has been serving SMB focused cloud solutions since 1998.

Microsoft Office 365

Released publicly in July 2011, Office 365 is the successor of Microsoft BPOS. Even as Microsoft promotes its 2010 series of its on-premise enterprise solutions, the cloud is critical to its future, as Steve Ballmer repeatedly emphasizes. Office 365 is the next generation of Microsoft BPOS, and is a refurbished and integrated online version of its on-premise solutions - Exchange and SharePoint 2010. Office 365 supposedly improves upon BPOS, which experienced persistent downtime issues, and adds Office Web Apps in response to Google Docs. Have these changes made Office 365 more desirable?

Google Apps

Google Apps brings a new "web based" approach to enterprise collaboration software. Google Apps is positioned as next generation enterprise software, specifically targeting on premise Microsoft messaging and collaboration products - Exchange and SharePoint. More and more companies are signing up, and seeing it as a viable alternative to Microsoft and others. It has generated massive media interest with Microsoft Office 365 vs. Google Apps comparisons rising to a fury. But with limited paid customers for Google Apps, its future success remains to be seen.

As the battle gets meaner, we bring an objective, feature to feature comparison of Microsoft BPOS and Google Apps. Also included is HyperOffice Collaboration Suite, a specialist in online messaging and collaboration software with a laser focus towards SMBs, having served this segment for the last 10 years.

  • Ideal for elaborate enterprise needs
  • SharePoint Online may be used to create custom applications
  • Includes Gmail, one of the best email clients around
  • Since it evolved from the consumer market, it is super simple
  • Low cost leader
  • Designed with a laser focus towards SMB needs
  • Seamlessly integrated since it was designed as a single solution
  • Customer support (for all users/all issues) is ideal for SMBs without in house IT
  • Ad-hoc integration as components are also stand alone products (Sharepoint Online, Exchange Online)
  • Can be complex for some users
  • Is seen as more a consumer oriented product repackaged for businesses
  • Poorly integrated with multiple interfaced as components are stand alone products in consumer market (Gmail, Sites, Groups etc.)
  • Lacks online authoring capabilities
  • Lacks web conferencing
...Online Document Management


Collaboration (version control, notifications, comments etc.)

Desktop Web Folders

Online authoring

Full text search

...Online Project Management

Task scheduling (create, assign, track)

Task dependencies

Gantt Charts

To-do lists

...Communication and Messaging

Web mail

Outlook Synchronization


Calendars and contacts

Web conferencing

...Site Publisher
Publish internal site
Personal Sites
Publish external site
WYSIWYG Publisher
Advanced drag and drop publishing
...Relational Web Databases and Online Forms
Relational Online Databases
Web Forms
  1. No tasks sync, and syncs only 1 calendar
  2. Google Docs can be used to create forms

...Phones Supported

iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nokia, Windows Mobile
iPhone, BlackBerry(1), Android, Nokia, Windows Mobile
iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nokia, Windows Mobile

...Features Supported

push email, push calendars, push contacts, push tasks
push email, push calendars, push contacts,
push email, push calendars, push contacts, push tasks

...Protocols Supported

ActiveSync, SyncML(2)
ActiveSync, SyncML, Email to SMS

    1. Requires Blackberry Enterprise Server implementation
    2. Only supports contacts for SyncML
Service and Support
...Phone Support
Available to admin for "critical issues"
Available to admin for "critical issues"
Available to all users for all issues
...License Terms
Monthly or annual
Monthly or annual