Office 365 vs. Google Apps: Microsoft struggles to compete on mobile

By Bonnie Yu

Microsoft has been the dominant force in desktop productivity apps for decades. For many, Microsoft Word is synonymous with writing a document.

With revenue from Windows in decline, Office is increasingly important to Microsoft’s bottom line. And the biggest opportunity for Office is on mobile.

So, how has Microsoft done so far? To get answers, we turned to SurveyMonkey Intelligence, our data product that provides detailed metrics for thousands of mobile apps.

Google outpaces Microsoft in every category

Despite Microsoft’s historical dominance, Google is beating Microsoft in every category on mobile. In email, Google’s app usage outpaces Microsoft by 14 times. Google Sheets even boasts many more users than Microsoft Excel, an area where purists have traditionally continued to prefer Microsoft.

But what about as a suite? Even viewing all of Microsoft and Google’s products together, eight times more people used one or more Google productivity apps in the past month, compared to Microsoft.

Looking to the future, Google’s has the odds stacked in its favor. Google’s apps are well designed for mobile: they’re simple and lightweight. Google also has a tremendous advantage in that its apps come preinstalled on most Android phones. With Android more than half of the US smartphone market, this is a huge advantage.

Google is beating Microsoft in productivity on mobile, and that seems unlikely to change dramatically in the near future. Ironically, Microsoft Office is being thwarted by the same structural distribution disadvantages on mobile (Google’s ownership of Android) that its competitors suffered on desktop.

This post originally appeared on April 20, 2016 on the blog of SurveyMonkey Intelligence, a competitive intelligence product for mobile apps.

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