Microsoft beating Google in cloud email race, says Gartner


news A study by analyst firm Gartner has found that 8.5% of global public companies use cloud email from Microsoft’s Office 365 service, with just 4.7% using Google Apps for Work.

The remaining 87% of companies surveyed have on-premises, hybrid, hosted or private cloud email provided by smaller vendors.

Overall, the firm found that the cloud email market is still in the early stages of adoption with 13% of identified publicly listed companies using Microsoft or Google – the two main cloud email vendors.

Gartner’s study was based on an automated examination of a large number of publicly available email routing records. The firm used email server addresses in the domain records of nearly 40,000 public companies worldwide, to discover which point to cloud email services from the two tech giants.

“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 Nikos Drakos, Research Vice President at Gartner.

“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 organizations are already using cloud email, and the number is growing rapidly,” he said.

Among the organisations using cloud email from Google and Microsoft, Microsoft is ahead in most industries, the data showed – particularly in regulated areas such as utilities, energy and aerospace.

Where Google is ahead, it is in industries with more competition and less regulation, such as software publishing, retail, advertising, media, education and travel.

“Among public companies using cloud-based email, Microsoft is more popular with larger organizations and has more than an 80% share of companies using cloud email with revenue above $10 billion,” said Jeffrey Mann, Research Vice President at Gartner. “Google’s popularity is better among smaller companies, approaching a 50% share of companies with revenue less than $50 million.”

In some industries – such as travel and hospitality, professional services and consumer products – the highest usage is among the companies with the biggest revenue. More than a third of companies in these industries with revenue above $10 billion use cloud email from one of these two vendors, said Gartner.

Back in September, Macquarie University revealed it had decided to abandon Google’s hosted email and calendaring platform and make the switch to Microsoft’s Office 365 platform.

The move resulted from a controversial decision by Google to shift the university’s data from its previous datacentre location in Europe and move it to the United States.

At the time, Macquarie had had concerns regarding the storage of its data in the United States, due to legislation such as the Patriot Act, which could give US law enforcement authorities access to its data.


  1. Anecdotally, Google owns the small business area. The numbers above look right for large global corporates who have in-house skill, resources and inertia to continue with on-prem email systems.
    Those large organisations are already typically Exchange/Outlook, so it’s not surprising they would choose O365 Exchange/Outlook when moving to cloud services.

  2. I am a maintainer of an on prem exchange install.

    And I can tell you, the capabilities and compatibility of exchange is fantastic.
    Google is great for personal email, but if I ever had a choice I’d use exchange.

    Cloud hosted exchange is even better from my perspective, it puts most of my expertise in the bin (late nights fighting database replication issues – or whatever – become someone else’s fault).

    Outlook is still the best mail client I have ever seen, and it’s integration with exchange obviously gives it a leg up (do wish they let other mail apps have access to the same APIs).

    My work is currently investigating all the options, between a new on prem install to replace our now aging install, a smaller hosted exchange install, through to office 365.

    I’m hoping for the one that puts me out of a job. (Because I actually like my company and want them to make the right choice)

      • You’re kidding right? Lotus Notes is easily the worst Corporate Mail Client available!

        The only advantages it has over Outlook is the room booking function in its calendar and “twisties”.

        Lotus Notes was a workflow system 1st and Mail system second and it shows. I’ve used from the 90’s to as recently as late last year.

        • I use the latest versions of each at work, and its chalk and cheese. Outlook is rubbish.

          No idea about the room booking thing, haven’t seen that in yonks, was it ever a standard Notes feature, or just an addon?

          • Wore, you must be the only person on earth that likes notes better than outlook!

            Is a standard feature, great for multi level buildings and even picks available rooms for you based on the number of invitees.

  3. Yeah, hardly a fair or accurate assessment Gartner. Instead of asking your fortune 500 companies, with big Microsoft software assurance contracts, where they get Office 360 thrown in for free, what they use, why don’t you ask “end users” what they would prefer to use. Hotmail or Gmail.

    • I switched to about a year and a half ago and never looked back. I’m a huge fan of the new Microsoft Eco system. After years of Google it’s starting to seem a bit stale.

  4. From our consulting business at we certainly migrate most customers to Microsoft Office 365. Most of these customers were either on Domino or GroupWise. Also, we have migrated customers off Google onto Office 365. I would agree with the Gartner report, based on our experiences. Having used many email platforms, they all have their followers, and good & bad features – and it is great to see some passionate debate in this area !

    Most users who we migrate off Domino (or GroupWise) onto Outlook are very largely happy, with a minority missing certain features from before – but good communication and training can mitigate this.

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