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Microsoft Office vs. Google Office Suite – How Will This Battle Turn Out?

Microsoft dominates the Enterprise. Google Offers native “cloud” office solutions. Microsoft is storming the cloud with full power. Google is widely used for email, web-search and gaining a foothold in Enterprise too. How will this play out?

The idea for this Blog post came as I was forwarded a similar question on Quora to answer. I’ll offer my perspective for the discussion on this question.

  1. Microsoft was always best at identifying new tech trends too late, but successfully bridge the gap and win the market. That’s because they’re much better as a marketing company, rather than a tech innovation company. Couple of prominent examples from the past that come to mind: Spreadsheets (Excel, anybody?) and the use of the Internet for business.
  2. The move to the cloud is but one example of the above. Microsoft was not the first to discover the cloud, to offer business solutions or office tools on the cloud. They even hesitated for long time before they started to believe in the cloud (as they did with the Internet in the 90′s). But the transition from the Desktop to the Cloud is a global, main trend. And Microsoft is now on the bandwagon finally, and their strategy is to conquer the cloud. It’s not only about Office (that is also offered as a cloud service), but the complete consumption of software paradigm. They are totally on it (…now).
  3. Microsoft in not a “cloud” company in its DNA. Google and Amazon are. Cloud is in Google’s DNA. Their technology stack and offerings were designed for the cloud. When you write a Google Sheets script, it is designed to run on the Google’s servers, as a native Web Application. Microsoft needs to pull out the heavy load of a Desktop oriented company and re-invent itself as a cloud company. It’s not easy, especially from a technology point of view. It’s enough to look at Office 365 that offered Excel as a cloud service. No scripting (“Macros”) were supported for many years. Excel cannot just be “cloudified”. The Desktop/Server approach dominating Microsoft’s huge stack built over the years is not designed for, and not deployable on the cloud. They needed to start almost from scratch.
  4. Microsoft is very (very) strong in the Enterprise. They have a tight stronghold in the Enterprise and enjoy convenient access to the decision-making personas. While Google needs to convince a CIO to pilot their new technologies over an Email message, Microsoft’s sales person is a buddy of that CIO for 15 years already.
  5. Microsoft Office, and not the cloud version, is still widely dominating the office space. Almost every person working with a computer, uses (at least some) of the MS-Office parts, it is entrenched in the technical implementation, API’s, skill-set, training, culture and habits of almost every company around the world. Try to change that…
  6. Google started as a search (and later email) service provider to the consumer, not the Enterprise, and that’s where they clearly dominate. However, as Microsoft is making its way from the Desktop to the Cloud, Google has their own journey to make: from the Internet for the consumer to the Enterprise. Google is already gaining nice footprint with small and medium companies, but they have deep pockets, too. They are playing the field against the “Amazons” of the cloud to serve the Enterprise and they have enough breath to invest in strong cloud infrastructure and tools geared for the Enterprise.
  7. It is not Microsoft that Google they need to overcome mainly, but rather both Microsoft and Google are facing Amazon. Amazon (AWS) is serving the Enterprise with cloud services today much like Microsoft is serving the desktop Office. According to Canalys, in 2019 Q4, Google is a distant third in cloud spend enjoying roughly 6% market share to Azure's 18% and Amazon's 32%. However, it is worthwhile to note the annual growth of both Microsoft Azure (62%) and Google Cloud (67%) vs. AWS (33%). Google and Microsoft are surely catching up.


In summary, I believe both Google and Microsoft will make their way, each in its own desired direction. Considering Microsoft stronghold and domination in the Enterprise, from both a technology footprint and sales accessibility; Their cloud strategy nowadays; and their marketing excellence, I bet they will become one of the leading “Office on the Cloud” vendors eventually.

Google will penetrate into the Enterprise and will enjoy a fair share of the cloud. Their growth figures are not lying and they to tell more about what is expected on that front for them.

I offer another perspective on this discussion on my Blog post: Google Spreadsheets vs. Microsoft Excel: What Should You Choose?

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