Smackdown: Office 365 vs. G Suite productivity

Can you really use Google’s G Suite instead of Microsoft Office? Here's how they compare on Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Chrome OS

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Google has been trying for years to get businesses to abandon Microsoft Office in favor of what it now calls G Suite, the collaboration-oriented trio of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, plus companion apps Gmail and Drive. Microsoft has long been the productivity standard-bearer, with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, supplemented by Outlook and most recently OneDrive.

G Suite promises a very low price for businesses, availability anywhere via web browsers, and of course its standard-setting collaboration tools. But can you really base your business on G Suite? We decided to find out through a series of comparisons. This one focuses on the productivity tools that form the core of the Office and G Suite, um, suites.

One big shift that G Suite presaged was a multiplatform work world. Google relies largely on web browsers to deliver that experience, though it uses native apps in iOS and Android mobile devices. By contrast, Microsoft has focused on its native apps, recently extending them to iOS and Android; however, it also offers browser versions with limited capabilities.

Due to those different mixes, G Suite is much simpler than Office 365 to deploy and navigate. But as a result of its web orientation, G Suite is also a much less capable set of tools than Office 365 is. For many organizations willing to leave Office behind, the question is whether they can rely on the productivity subset that G Suite offers. To help you make your decision, we’ve put together tables on the following pages that show which suites support which key features on which platforms. (We’ve excluded table-stakes features they all support, like cut and paste and text formatting.) 

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