Google Claims 6 Million G Suite “Paying Businesses”

Posted on April 8, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Office 365, Microsoft 365, Google with 10 Comments

Google continues to make it impossible to determine whether its G Suite offering is succeeding in its battle against Office 365: The firm claimed this week that G Suite now has 6 million “paying businesses,” but Microsoft measures the success of Office 365 by monthly active users, not businesses.

News of G Suite’s surge—it claimed 5 million paying businesses about a year earlier—comes courtesy of Javier Soltero, who recently left Microsoft to take charge of Google’s stumbling business productivity offering. Soltero can’t take credit for G Suite’s sudden rise in paying customers, of course, he’s only recently arrived at the firm. But he’s been talking up his new gig with various publications and news outlets.

The publication Protocol, for example, used the old 5 million figure, but it also interestingly noted that Microsoft has 60 million paying Office 365 customers. (I’m not sure where they found that number, and have never seen Microsoft provide such a figure.) More recently, however, Soltero told CNBC that G Suite now has 6 million paying customers.

“The business of G Suite is growing at an incredibly healthy and, frankly for me, surprising rate,” he said, in a strangely contorted way. Google now counts free Gmail users who utilize its Docs and other online productivity services as “free G Suite users,” contrasting them with paid business customers. So it can sort of claim to have over 2 billion G Suite users, overall, though only a tiny, tiny percentage actually pay for it (or probably even use it).

In October 2019, Microsoft claimed that it had over 200 million active monthly users of its commercial Office 365 offerings. But that figure measures individuals within businesses, not the number of businesses that are paying for Office 365. But there are also over 37 million customers paying for Office 365 consumer as well.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Google Claims 6 Million G Suite “Paying Businesses””

  1. RobCannon

    I don't understand why anyone would pick GSuite over Office. My company did and it is horrible for productivity. We must have gotten a great deal, but it has been a disaster, so not really a great deal.

  2. phil_adcock

    I pay for Gsuite because I wanted to use Gmail as my source for my custom domain. When I used Microsoft so much spam got through but with Gmail I've not had that problem. I'll occasionally use Docs for a quick note or if I know I need to share a document with someone. But my daily use programs are Outlook, Onenote (Used as a notebook lol) and Word.

  3. ejuly

    Because of my job I use both O365 and GSuite almost every day. If all you want are the basics of email and docs then GSuite is great but once you get beyond that GSuite users have complained it is difficult to understand. I think Slides is a decent product but gets lots of why can't I have PowerPoint and Keep IMO is a cluster.

    Schools use GSuite because of price and Chromebooks. Interestingly Chromebooks went for almost zero to over 2/3 of US students (with take home machines) in 5 years but the last couple of years that percent is smaller with windows number two in the USA for students but number 1 in the world. Apple does a lot of commercials with kids using iPads but schools are just not buying them like they did the Apple desktop machines.

  4. rucksack technology

    I've tried repeatedly to warm up to Office 365. I can't. It's horrible. When I first started trying to switch from Google to Microsoft a couple of years ago, I spent a huge amount of time on the phone with Microsoft Sales trying to understand the 4,209 subscription options. I finally made a pick, which turned out to be the wrong pick. When I finally got to the right package for me, I started having to spend more time on the phone getting people to help me configure things.

    One small example: I wanted to set up email aliases so I could send and receive email from different address (me personally, [email protected], [email protected] etc, plus my old email addresses). Easy in G Suite. Possible in Outlook only by way of a complex workaround. (You have to set up some kind of shared account as if you had a team of people. I don't have a team of people--I just have multiple email addresses. The Microsoft Support people seemed to think this was odd.) And in Outlook, after I got these shared accounts set up, I found I couldn't check them at the same time I was viewing my main account, at least not in the same window. I can have six separate Google accounts open in the same browser at the same time and Google doesn't get confused. But to have two mailboxes open simultaneously with Office, it's necessary for each to be in its own window -- or in different browsers. (Note: "Window" not same thing as "tab".)

    I think Office is succeeding on inertia, but it has so much inertia it will keep pulling in the bucks for a long time. I am sure it's also helped by fact that it's the favorite recommendation of IT people, and why wouldn't it be? It keeps so many of them in business.

    • pbeiler1

      In reply to rucksack technology:

      I'm the opposite here. The Office 365 ecosystem has worked well, especially from a business standpoint, (apps, security, etc). Shared accounts show slightly differently, depending on your frontend (cellphone, desktop, browser), but work well. I avoid the Google system because I don't want something scanning my browser-use, emails, etc, so it can better target me with ads. Advertising is Google's primary source of income.

  5. nicholas_kathrein

    It's pretty much fud to worry about advertising when you're using g suite. what this all comes down to is what you're used to. If you're used to Outlook then you probably won't like Gmail. If you love Gmail you're not going to like Outlook. When it comes to the rest of the tools like sheets and Google docs it's kind of the same thing.

  6. melinau

    Google has made significant inroads into parts of UK Education.

    My wife who is CEO of a MAT uses Drive as provided through London Grid for Learning, though she retains MS Office for doing "serious" work. Her staff (Teachers) tend to use Google Apps Suite for their work. The 'good' news is that this hybrid seems to play nicely together, though the missus is very computer literate....

    I'm an O365 fan, but fully understand that Google Suite is fine for most people who don't need the power.