Channel technologies, CSPs, Vertical markets

Office 365 vs Google Apps: Microsoft Counters in Schools

The Office 365 vs. Google Apps battle is shifting to the education vertical, where Office 365 now includes Microsoft Classroom -- "a single experience for managing all classes and assignment workflow for teachers and students." That certainly sounds innovative and valuable for teachers who want to organize classes, manage grade assignments, provide feedback to students and more.

Gee, That Sounds Familiar

Bram Bout
Bram Bout
But is Microsoft really breaking new ground here? Perhaps not. After all, Google Apps or Education already includes -- wait for it -- Google Classroom. Yes, that tool "allows teachers to create and organize assignments, share feedback and communicate with classes." And Google Classroom sounds like it's wildly popular, with 10 million users as of March 2016. “Classroom has really become the focus of our attention,” Bram Bout, director of Google for Education, told ChannelE2E in March 206. “It has been hugely popular with tremendous uptake. And we’ve been receiving great feedback in terms of the next capabilities that users would like to see.” With that reality in mind, Google is focusing heavily on continued Classroom enhancements.

Why Microsoft Is Countering

The education market increasingly involves high-end Apple hardware and lower-priced (or free) Google offerings. Google Apps for Education has 60 million users (I don't know how many users Office 365 has in the education market). Many of those users also leverage Chromebooks, which now have an installed base of more than 10 million units. As teachers train a new generation of students for the workforce, both Google and Microsoft want to ensure tomorrow's employees arrive armed with skills on their respective cloud platforms. The battle started with Office 365 vs Google Apps for Education. Now, it's shifting to Microsoft Classroom vs Google Classroom...    
Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.