Last updated on February 21st, 2020 by Jeremy Hillpot

Whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop or a global enterprise, you need business email. If you’re deciding on email service for your business, there’s a decent chance you’re doing the Outlook vs. Gmail math. While both will do a fine job meeting your basic email needs, that doesn’t mean either is an ideal tool for a small business.

For starters, a small business (or any business for that matter) needs an email address that’s branded with their domain name. But you can’t simply buy Outlook or Gmail and start using the service with your domain. To get business email from Microsoft or Google, you need to pay for an Office 365 or a G Suite license.

If you’re weighing Outlook vs. Gmail for your small business, you owe it to yourself to consider what you’re really paying for before making the commitment. In this guide, we’ll explore the downsides of choosing Microsoft or Google for a small business.

The Disadvantages of Microsoft Outlook

Outlook is offered by Microsoft for free, via outlook.live.com. By creating an account, you’ll get an email address at outlook.com or hotmail.com and access to your inbox through webmail. If you want to use your business domain, i.e. you@yourbusiness.com, you’ll need to buy an Office 365 license. This will give you access to the desktop client, as well as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other tools, depending on the level of license you purchase.

The Outlook client features a host of tools for document creation and collaboration, task assignment, calendaring, journaling, managing contacts, and note-taking.

Outlook also takes advantage of Microsoft Exchange Server or SharePoint Server to connect team members and sync shared calendars, public folders, meeting schedules, and mailboxes. Furthermore, Office 365 includes an Outlook mobile app, so you can access its features on the go.

If you need business productivity tools, Office 365 is the way to go. But if you’re really just looking for business email, paying for an entire suite of tools to get a branded domain and a desktop client probably seems unnecessary. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key problems that leave small business users frustrated with Microsoft’s email offering.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Outlook Issues

  • Price: Office 365 Business Essentials starts at $5.00 a month. In this tier, you’ll only get access to the web and mobile versions of Outlook. And while you’ll get access to Microsoft Teams, you’ll need to jump up a level to get Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. The Office 365 Business tier goes for $8.25 a month. Teams is not included in this tier. If you want Teams, along with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, you’ll need to get Office 365 Business Premium, at $12.50 a month. With all of these offerings, the monthly advertised price is based on an annual commitment. If you want to go month to month, you’ll have to pay $6, $10, or $15, respectively, for each level.
  • Difficult setup: Setup for Outlook is far from intuitive. Most organizations need IT staff to configure the numerous options available on the platform. If you’re a small business owner without the luxury of in-house IT support, you’re probably going to be frustrated.
  • No support: Users will find it frustrating to solve their Outlook support problems. That’s because there’s no direct support for Outlook from Microsoft – just online articles and the Outlook support forums.

MS Outlook Review: Pros and Cons + Outlook Alternatives

  • Sometimes slow, inefficient, and buggy: Some Outlook users complain about the  ‘bugginess’ of the platform, and most will have a hard time solving these bugs. The most frequent complaints relate to speed, but the service can also crash unexpectedly and experience trouble when integrating with non-Microsoft platforms.
  • Late to the game with new developments: Outlook is slow and cautious about updating its software with new features. Many users want a newer, more modern platform, but they’re stuck with Outlook because they don’t know how to migrate their Outlook contacts and emails to another solution. A computer software account executive wrote, “The system has always seemed dated and ‘too simple’ it seems as if competitors continue to grow and update features and other updates that Outlook still lacks.”
  • Calendar problems: Calendaring an event works smoothly on Outlook’s shared calendar feature. But making edits to a repeating event isn’t very intuitive. If you aren’t careful, you can cause the entire series to cancel for the invite list, while the edit looks normal on your end.

The Disadvantages of G Suite

G Suite is an email, collaboration, and productivity platform that includes an array of tools – such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Hangouts, Currents, Drive, Docs, Keep, Forms, Sheets, Slides, Sites, and the interactive whiteboard, Jamboard. If you purchase one of the more expensive G Suite packages, you will also receive a Vault and Admin Panel to manage user access privileges and other features.

G Suite is entirely based in the cloud. While you won’t be able to access any of the tools or services without an internet connection, Google’s cloud servers will save new data instantly and synchronize it throughout the platform.

Those are some of the positives. As for the negatives, G Suite users encounter the following problems.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Gmail Issues

  • Price: Google offers G Suite across three tiers – Basic at $5 a month, Business at $12 a month, and Enterprise at $25 a month. Of course, what you’re willing to pay determines the amount of access you’ll get to storage, support, and the various apps. At the Basic tier, a user will get “business email through Gmail,” video conferencing, team messaging, and Google Calendar. You also get access to 30GB of storage on Google Cloud, 24/7 support, and various security and admin controls. For access to all the above, plus the entire suite of Google tools — like Drive, Sheets, Docs, Slides, Calendar, etc. — and more storage and a few other features, users will need to jump to the Business or Enterprise tier. With both plans, based on the number of users you’ll need seats for, you’ll get unlimited cloud storage, access to a development environment, and various enhancements in the security and admin department. Even at the lowest tier, if all you really want is to use your business’s domain on Gmail, you’ll need to spend $72 a year.
  • Web-only platform: As a web-based platform, there’s no desktop application for G Suite. If you’re accustomed to accessing your email client offline or while traveling – or if you have an inconsistent internet connection – you’re going to face connectivity challenges while using G Suite.
  • Tab clutter: Since it’s a web-based application, you’ll need to open a lot of windows on your browser while using G Suite. This doesn’t have to be a serious problem, but it makes some users wish that G Suite offered a suite of native desktop applications. An operations director wrote, “[It] would be great if they developed a native app for macOS to utilize outside of your browser. There are third-party apps that do this for Mac but they’re not that great.”

G Suite Review: Pros & Cons + G Suite Alternatives

  • Tools are not that powerful: Google Sheets, Docs, Slides, etc. serve as replacements for virtually everything that Office 365 does, but they’re not as powerful. While this helps with user-friendliness, it can be frustrating if you want to dig deeper into a document and can’t access the functionality you need.
  • Calendar doesn’t integrate well across platforms: Google Calendar integrates well when calendaring with other individuals using Google products. However, it can be glitchy when sending calendar invites to people using other platforms – like the employees of large enterprises who use Microsoft products.
  • Document collaboration is glitchy: Many users have reported jumpiness and glitches when working on a shared document in Google Drive. One small business’s chief technology officer wrote, “It starts to move my cursor down because someone else is typing at the top. … Sometimes it makes it impossible to do your work if it keeps moving and updating.”

Try Titan for Free

Titan offers business-class email at a fraction of the price of Office 365 and G Suite. With Titan, businesses can create a custom domain (or port over an existing one) and get up and running on business-class email in a matter of minutes.

The best features of Titan:

  • Affordability – Titan is available for a fraction of the price of G Suite or Outlook, starting at $1.49 a month.
  • Professional business email addresses – Titan enables small businesses to easily create email addresses with custom domains (you@yourcompany.com), which boosts the professionalism of your brand.
  • Desktop and mobile apps – Access to all of Titan’s functionality –– video conferencing, instant messaging, shared calendars –– are available via one mobile or desktop interface.
  • One-click video calling – Add a video link to your emails with a single click. You can also join video calls directly by clicking an event invite link.
  • Shared calendars – Enjoy easy access to individual and shared calendars via Titan’s all-in-one user portal.
  • Snooze emails – Titan lets you put your emails on snooze, which keeps important messages at the top of your queue so you can answer them later.
  • Email tracking – Email tracking informs you with a date/time stamp as soon as someone reads your emails.
  • Intuitive interface – At the core of Titan’s email, calendar sharing, video calling, and other features is an intuitive interface that users understand how to navigate immediately.
Get a business email service  that means business!
  • G Suite
  • gmail
  • Office 365
  • Outlook
Originally published 7th January 2020 07:00:18am, last updated on February 21st, 2020

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