Google Docs or Microsoft Office?

The winner is…..

Yes, you may have guessed it already; it is Google. Google Apps have already become the preferred choice over Microsoft for small businesses and is in a heated race to win over companies with over 1,000 employees (Eyal, 2014). Such significant erosion of market share led Microsoft to give away the Office Suite on mobile for free (Wingfield, 2014).

Microsoft is also taking it a step further by focusing on strategies to make Office “a habit” according to Qi Lu, the man in charge of Office Suite products (Eyal, 2014). This strategy is explained in a book titled Hooked: How to build habit-forming products by Nir Eyal. The “hook model” has distinct four phases – trigger, action, reward and investment (Eyal, 2014).

The trigger phase has a cue involved that drives an individual to the use of the product, and the action phase is where the user repeats the behavior in anticipation of a reward (Eyal, 2014). For example, a colleague or classmate emails a file attachment that requires Office to open and the action is to simply open the file (Eyal, 2014). The reward phase is when the individual has an itch of curiosity to see what is in the file, and the investment phase is where one puts something into the product such as an Office update in anticipation of future benefit (Eyal, 2014). Office still has one billion users worldwide, and therefore, it should not be so hard to make it a habit for the existing users.

The challenge in my opinion lies in staving off Google Docs and Apps from taking away even more market share on account of being a free and real-time collaborative tool. Is giving away Office on mobile for free really the answer to stem the tide of Google? The YouTube Parodies here, though they may be somewhat accurate, won’t do the trick.

Thank you for reading.


Eyal, N. (2014). How customers get hooked on products. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 12/02 from

Wingfield, N. (2014). Microsoft, changing tack, makes office suite free on mobile. Retrieved 12/02 from


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10 Responses to Google Docs or Microsoft Office?

  1. Liza Vee says:

    Hi Maung,

    I think it ironic that Microsoft’s Parody on Google’s Chrome was posted and shared from Google’s YouTube in order to make their point.

    Gmail is free to users and wagering that somewhere in their privacy policy or terms of use, by signing up with their service, we have given them permission to do what they do.

    While Microsoft’s videos are funny, the company has a tendency to chase versus lead. This is another example of that.

  2. Matthew Jensen-Skinner says:

    Interesting idea, Maung.
    I posted something similar relating to Google on my post about how the company is experimenting with pay-to-remove-ads websites. It seemed such a drastic change from their current ad strategy.
    With Facebook launching its new privacy stuff in 2015, intended for better marketing and advertising, and now Microsoft giving away Office, it seems the whole world is going topsy-turvy.
    I’ve brought it up before that I wonder if this is all a ploy to secure a market position, eliminate competitors and then jack the price up. With Google’s almost abundant resources, it pretty much can muscle its way into anything it desires. I, for one, always question their motives and don’t think for one minute that they are providing all the free stuff that they are simply out of the kindness of their hearts.

  3. apwebste says:

    Haha, funny commercial.
    Something to think about. At work we still use Microsoft Office and I work for a large corporation. I honestly don’t think any program is well protected, but its good to be aware of programs to use for the best storage.

  4. ugatti says:

    I definitely agree with the fact that it is going to be interesting to see how Microsoft will react. I believed that they were already being challenged by the fact that Apple offered their “office2 suite included in the mcbooks and those programs are free on the app store. I believe that, in order to gain back the position of absolute market leader that once Microsoft had, they will have to really showcase what is in for the clients when purchasing office. They should probably introduce more graphic tools (like those in photoshop) since graphic design seems to be a hot topic in which many users might be interested. Such improved features could probably attract more customers given the extra benefits.

  5. Tyler says:

    Hi Maung,

    Interesting post! I just read this morning in the WSJ that “Microsoft still owns more than 90% of the market for new sales of office software – email, spreadsheets, docs..” reported by Gartner 2013. The article didn’t specify business market segment (e.g., SOHO, etc.) though. Anyway, Google is also attempting to gain share by increasing commissions of their re-sellers, their pulling out all their guns.

    Personally, I do enjoy free gmail and collaborate sharing capabilities of Google (docs, spereadsheets, ppt). I have not used Office 365, so I cannot compare these products. However, there is no comparison when it comes to MS Office. I’d much rather pay a premium for a better performing product when it comes to business. And, I live in spreadsheets, docs and presentations daily…

  6. Darling says:

    Hi Maung!

    That first commercial was terrible, lol. However, it really did a great job of explaining what is happening to our privacy. Quite sad, really. Liza V. is right about us basically agreeing to having no privacy by signing up for all these “free” services. I use “free” because in reality we are paying in a different way and possibly one day we’ll realize that we were better off paying a membership fee than giving up so much of our privacy.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Laura says:

    I had the same thought that Liza Vee expressed, except she said it better than I was able to: Microsoft is chasing when they should be leading. In all of the examples we’ve seen, companies end up with an advantage when they build themselves up instead of tearing down their competition. In this case, the best result could be that viewers would have a slightly worse feeling about their competition, but would they really be inclined to switch to Office 365 based on these ads? The videos didn’t do much to convince consumers to proactively take up Microsoft; they just made their competition look a little worse.

  8. Jillian says:

    Hmm, very interesting. I used to be such an advocate of Google and am in fact, using Chrome right now… But after watching this, I’m not quite sure how I feel! After reading your blog and watching your video, there are a couple of points I’d like to speak too… The first being that I personally, do not like videos/advertisements where organizations blatantly attack their competitors. I feel like it’s very childish and that corporations should put their money/efforts towards creating more tasteful advertising.

    On another note that speaks to Google Docs versus Microsoft Office, I honestly, don’t think that any software (Apple’s Numbers/Pages apps included) will ever beat Microsoft Office. Although Google does have a one up, in that their files can be accessed from virtually anywhere and any time, they’re definitely not as sophisticated as Microsoft Office and don’t know that they will ever be? I am constantly finding that I’ll begin work on Google Docs and then end up transferring back to Microsoft! I don’t think it’s a matter of advertising here, really… I think it’s a matter of capabilities and software functionality.

  9. Bernadette Brijlall says:

    Maung – I totally believe Google Docs as the winner for small business. When considering the cost of Microsoft, it’s a huge savings! Microsoft was strategic in offering Office for free on mobile devices – but I do wonder if this is enough to sway consumers. With more and more people working remotely and needing quick and easy access to information, Google Docs is a fantastic solution and little to no cost. Just as Jillian pointed out, it’s all about capabilities and what matters to the business. In the end they will need to pick with what works best for their business.

  10. Graham says:

    Maung this was AWESOME!! I loved it! It’s nice to see Microsoft fighting back. Since Microsoft owns a search engine of their own I wonder if Bing is much different in how they monetize traffic. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that these videos about the perils of Google being served up on YouTube, a site owned by Google. What’s more, they were serving up ads for Google’s products at the bottom of the video. In short, Google could have just not allowed these videos on YouTube but the free advertising they get to those who see them is probably reason enough to let Microsoft keep up their criticism. To them, they are a necessary evil – otherwise it won’t take long before regulators start calling them a monopoly.

    Bravo sir!