What is the difference between Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace?

In the simplest broad terms, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are both platforms that bundle together ‘suites’ of productivity tools designed to perform business tasks in the cloud, through web browsers. Tasks include:
Video conferencing
File management
Team Collaboration
Document/Spreadsheet creation

At first glance, it would seem that Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are similar in the productivity features they offer. This partly true, but only on the surface. Both offerings are re-brandings with improvements on the previous platforms: Office 365 became Microsoft 365 and Google’s G Suite became Google Workspace.

While each bundle of productivity apps perform the same basic functions that any business needs, such as email, meetings, messaging, video and voice calling, calendaring and storage, among others, it’s the approach that each platform takes that makes the biggest difference.

While both provide web-based management consoles, the main differences have to do with app design and cloud architecture. Workspace is engineered to run completely online, although several of their apps have offline options, whereas Microsoft 365 offers a hybrid between the cloud and automatically updated ‘Click-to-Run’ packages. Google is all about the cloud and your browser, while Microsoft allows the option of web-based or desktop-centric use of the apps for day to day work tasks. Internet outages DO happen, if infrequently and usually of short duration, but the Microsoft user will still be able to use some apps like Word and Excel.

Which one is better for your business often depends on which approach meshes and works better with your office hardware and installed applications and programs. There are also fundamental differences in quality between applications. For example, Microsoft Excel is almost unanimously voted a better spreadsheet app than Google Sheets. At IT Support LA, we have seen several instances where our clients chose Microsoft 365 over Workspace for this app alone. There are vast differences between feature-rich Microsoft Word and the sparsely featured Google Docs. Many report that Docs is more user friendly (most scaled-down apps are), but those workers in need of the features which Microsoft offers are probably used to Office 365 and will want to stay with it.

Note that both offer free trials: Microsoft for 30 days, Google for 14 days.
There is a free, scaled down (barebones) version of Microsoft 365.
Google Workspace offers free versions for non-profits and education. Mashable.com demonstrates a crafty way to effectively cobble together get a free, limited ‘version’ of Workspace HERE (IT Support LA does not endorse this method – try at your own risk).

In general, and this is painting with a wide brush, Microsoft apps tend to offer more features, while Google apps are often easier and more intuitive to use. However, there are so many longtime Microsoft users in business that the learning curve would only really affect users who are new to the workforce and have little experience with either platform. When in doubt, ask your IT Support – they will most likely be familiar with how your business works and the apps that will be a better fit for you.


The pricing is fairly close, but Microsoft tends to be a little more expensive with its Premium versions, which is reasonable considering the abundance of features M365 offers over Workspace. Both offer a price break for yearly subscriptions, but the monthly business pricing structure is below:

M365: Microsoft’s breakdown of the apps that are included in the versions below is HERE.
Basic: $5.00 per user/month
Standard: $12.50
Premium: $20.00 per user/month

Workspace: Google’s breakdown of the apps that are included in the versions below is HERE.
Starter: $6.00 per user/month
Standard: $12.00
Plus: $18.00 per user/month
Enterprise: Must contact Google for quote

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between Office 365 and Microsoft 365?

A:  It is a bit more than just a name change. While both are cloud-based with desktop applications as well, the simple answer is: Office 365 is a bundle of apps for business productivity which is included within the large platform of Microsoft 365 along with a broader range of services like Windows 10 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) and machine learning. Like the Oldsmobile commercial from the past, “This isn’t your Dad’s Office 365.”

As with Office 365, Microsoft 365 also offers different versions, each with added services and apps, at escalating prices: Basic, Standard, and Premium.

Q: Is Google Workspace better than Microsoft Office?

A: Honestly, it depends on who you ask. Microsoft offers a vast array of features – much more than Google. Longtime Office users tend to prefer Microsoft 365 because they utilize more of the many features available. People who are new to either platform or who have simpler needs prefer the ease of use Google Workspace offers – and they either don’t need or don’t know about all the extra features that Microsoft has. The Cybersecurity on Microsoft 365 is much more bulletproof than Google’s (see next FAQ below).

There are a number of ‘unbiased’ evaluations and comparisons to be found online, but take those with a grain of salt – many have strategic partnerships with one or the other, so they may slant the comparison to favor the company that puts money in their pocket.

Try a free trial on both and see.

Q: Is Microsoft safer than Google?

A:  Microsoft occasionally has to plug holes in its defenses, but it still wins the Cybersecurity comparison, although Google has been catching up. Data encryption is superior in O365, which is a huge and reliable defense: hackers can’t use (and probably won’t steal) what they can’t read. In terms of privacy, Google makes most of its money on advertising, and through the years have been found to use confusing wording in their privacy policy which allows them to peddle ‘private’ data as they see fit. Microsoft makes it crystal-clear that NO private data will ever be scanned or made available to unauthorized 3rd parties.

Q: How do I migrate from G Suite to M365?

A: Microsoft Support lays out the processes (relatively simple) for migrating Consumer G Suite or a  Business Google Workspace, but if it’s for business, just let your IT support perform the migration.

Q: How do I transfer my Office 365 to Google?

A:  Just as Microsoft does, Google Support offers step by step migration directions HERE.

Find out how this will benefit your business

As a longtime Microsoft Partner, IT Support LA is very well versed in all things Microsoft, including helping clients determine the right M365 Plan will fit your business. For a FREE no-strings consultation, please either fill out the form on this page or call us at: