Attacking G Suite
It’s no secret that Microsoft and Google don’t like each other very much, insofar as companies have emotional feelings about other organizations. Perhaps it would be fairer to say that the Office 365 development team at Microsoft view Google G Suite as their most important and feared competitor. As such, what happens inside G Suite affects how Microsoft plans for and develops Office 365.
As competitors, it’s reasonable to assume that Microsoft and Google will do whatever is legally, technically, and ethically possible to convince customers to move to their cloud platform.
A few years ago, I heard a lot about Google wins against Microsoft as the race developed to move on-premises mailboxes into the cloud. I don’t hear the same chatter any more. Google is strong in some sectors still, but the fact is that the investment Microsoft has poured into Office 365 since 2013-4 to build out local datacenters, improve the functionality of the base Exchange and SharePoint workloads, and introduce new applications like Teams and Planner has made Office 365 the cloud leader with over 155 million monthly active users.
The obvious success of Teams versus its direct competitor (Slack) and in helping Office 365 compete with Google G Suite has tilted the balance further recently.
Price Stability for Office 365
Another factor (and probably thanks to Google) is that Microsoft has not increased prices for Office 365 plans recently with the mid-level Office 365 E3 staying at $20/user/month for quite a while. Although they are increasing prices elsewhere, Microsoft tactic with Office 365 seems to focus on driving increased revenue generated per user by trying to convince tenants to upgrade to E5 or buy feature add-ons to access new technology or features. On the other hand, sometimes they remove the need to buy add-ons, such in the case of Stream, where advanced features are now available to all Office 365 commercial customers, or sensitivity labels, which remove the need to buy Azure Information Protection plans. All in all, the stability of Office 365 pricing has been very welcome.
As the leader, Microsoft now wants to convince companies who moved to Google, perhaps from legacy Microsoft on-premises servers, to move back and that’s why the new effort exist to spin up enhanced migration tools for email, calendar, and contacts. According to the Microsoft 365 roadmap, the new tools should be available in the second quarter of 2019. You can read more about what’s happening in this Petri.com article.