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Microsoft Office 365 is beating Google Apps in enterprise adoption – Gartner research

Gartner’s take on the use of cloud email tools within the enterprise shows that Microsoft Office 365 is leading the way

Microsoft's and Google's hold on the cloud-based email space is revealed in new research from Gartner, which shows the Redmond giant’s services are more keenly adopted by large enterprises than the search giant’s tools.

According to the analyst house’s report, Microsoft Dominates Cloud Email in Large Public Companies but Shares the Rest With Google, 13% of publicly listed companies use either Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps for Work.

Of this 13%, Gartner’s research shows that 8.5% of public companies use Office 365 while 4.7% use Google’s cloud-based productivity offering.

The remaining 87% of the companies included in Gartner’s sample use an on-premise, hybrid, hosted or private cloud email setup.

Nikos Drakos, research vice-president at Gartner, said the findings should encourage other organisations to challenge the view that public cloud-run email services are not for them.

“Although it is still early days for cloud email adoption, both Microsoft and Google have achieved significant traction among enterprises of different sizes, industries and geographies,” said Drakos.

“Companies considering cloud email should question assumptions that public cloud email is not appropriate in their region, size or industry. Our findings suggest that many varied organisations are already using cloud email, and the number is growing rapidly.”

To compile its research, the market watcher tracked the email server addresses of about 40,000 public companies across the globe to see which ones linked back to cloud email services run by Google or Microsoft.

The findings show that Microsoft’s cloud email services are keenly used within most vertical markets, and particularly by firms operating in highly regulated industries, such as the utilities, energy and aerospace markets.

Read more about cloud adoption trends

In contrast, Google’s cloud-based communication offerings tend to be used most widely in highly competitive markets where the amount of regulation that companies must adhere to is markedly lower, said Gartner. As examples of this, the analyst house cited the software publishing, retail, advertising, media, education, food and beverage, and travel industries.   

Jeffrey Mann, research vice-president at Gartner, said that in broad terms, Microsoft has a hold on the enterprise, while Google has a firmer grip on the SME market.

“Among public companies using cloud-based email, Microsoft is more popular with larger organisations and has more than an 80% share of companies using cloud email with revenue above $10bn,” Mann said.

“Google’s popularity is better among smaller companies, approaching a 50% share of companies with revenue less than $50m.”

Gartner’s take on the cloud email sector echoes the findings of other reports on this space, particularly Bitglass’ 2015 take on the state of the market. 

Its research also highlighted how Microsoft Office 365 is increasingly finding favour with enterprises in highly regulated industries, while Google’s services are most popular among smaller firms.

In some industries – such as travel and hospitality, professional services and consumer products – the highest usage levels are among companies with the most revenue. More than one-third of firms in these industries with revenue above $10bn use cloud email from one of these two suppliers.

Read more on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)