On Tuesday, Microsoft officially launched Office 365, the Redmond software giant’s suite of online collaboration and office tools. It includes Office Web Apps and hosted versions of SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online, and aims to take on Google Apps for Business. But how do the two compare? Here’s a look at some screenshots of key applications in the two suites. (Note: Office 365 screenshots are on top, and I’ve only included screenshots of the browser-based web apps here)
Signup and Setup
Office 365 is relatively straightforward to set up, only requiring users to enter a few details; you don’t need to be an experienced IT admin to get going. After signing up with Office 365, it takes a little while for Office 365 to bring online the hosted instances of Exchange and SharePoint, but the whole process takes less than ten minutes. With Google Apps you’ll need your own domain and will have to verify it (Office 365 will provide one for you), which means that setup is more involved and will probably take a little longer, but there is a wizard to help step you through it.
The Office 365 admin page has options for managing users and passwords, websites, and for managing your Office 365 subscription. Google Apps has a similar Dashboard page, which also allows admins to add additional apps from third-party vendors via the Google Apps Marketplace.
Office 365 provides Outlook Web App, which has a very familiar interface for users of the Outlook desktop app. Google Apps uses Gmail.
Note that you cannot edit presentations with Google Apps, only view them.