The number of products available for project management in business has exploded in recent years. In an industry that was once dominated by Microsoft, the competition presented by Google in recent years has opened up the market and allowed much smaller startups to try and outfox the two industry giants.

How Fast-Moving Spreadsheet Alternatives Take On Microsoft
How Fast-Moving Spreadsheet Alternatives Take On Microsoft Excel Pixabay

This industry's existence began with Microsoft's first inclusion of the ability to save documents and spreadsheets to the cloud. The industry giant sought to promote its cloud storage capabilities by including this ability in the UX, choosing to do so by almost forcing its users to save work in the cloud. From here, Google sought to enter and disrupt this industry with the release of its Google Sheets product - which took market share from Microsoft.

This allowed numerous entrants to compete with these perennially-battling giants - including and Smartsheet, to name a few - who, through the provision of their highly futuristic and feature-rich solutions, give these two giants in the industry a run for their money. It is worthwhile for firms to consider their options carefully, especially given the findings of recent literature that the cloud drives greater productivity in business.

The Competition Between Microsoft and Google

Microsoft's innovation and experience is specialised in desktop software products, and it owns the most popular operating system product in the world - Windows. However, the reason the competition between these two giants is so close is that the innovation in question concerns the potential of web application innovation - which is precisely what Google's distinct business model is built around.

Google Sheets has presented quite a significant disruption to Excel because it exhibits a number of clear advantages over it. Firstly, it is free and makes collaboration between people on the same document (in real time) both possible and extremely simple. Not only this, it's automatic cloud-saving function is extremely convenient and practical - gone are the days of lost work due to forgetting to save.

At the moment, Google currently ranks third amongst all cloud-service providers (after Amazon and Microsoft); it has developed its presence within the industry through various shrewd investments and acquisitions. On top of this, it is the fastest growing of the three services due to the notable encroachments it has made, recently announcing that its cloud business now generates over $1B per quarter.

Best Microsoft Project Alternatives:

Smaller Companies Competing With Giants is a popular project management software that grants corporations the ability to effectively manage their portfolio, resources and tasks. The application can be accessed through a web browser or their mobile applications, both on iOS and Android. Due to the affordability of its basic plan, this software is ideal for freelancers and new startups seeking a work management system and its productivity improvements without breaking the bank.


Smartsheet is incredibly similar to but has a few important distinctions that make it more suited to business and enterprise users. Namely, its ability to enable an unlimited number of users to access sheets, reports and other work documents. Put briefly, Smartsheet is best for teams providing professional services as alongside being supremely flexible, its platform is also in accordance with GxP, CCPA, HIPAA and GDPR requirements.


Described as one of the highest-rated cloud-based tools for business on the market today, ClickUp is considered by many to be one of the leading project management softwares at the moment. The key features it provides that allow its users to manage their projects more effectively than their competitors include: customised views, powerful real-time collaboration features, a convenient dashboard with advanced analytical tools, built-in time tracking, workflow automation and a convenient drag and drop functionality.


Another option firms can consider for their project management solution is Basecamp. This project management and collaboration tool is specifically targeted towards being a single platform catering towards all the needs of small and medium sized businesses. The key features that set it apart from the competition are its powerful yet easy to use to-do lists for task management; a chat feature enabling for real-time communication in individual and group chats; hill charts that allow for concurrent tracking of project progress; and a document management feature that empowers its users to stay on top of their paperwork.

Final Comments

On balance, it is clear that the many futuristic functions of this plethora of smaller alternatives to Microsoft Excel - whose creation was sparked by Google's entrance into the industry - represent a significant challenge to both of the giants due to their fast-moving nature. This is particularly evident when comparing Monday vs. Smartsheet; the main two drivers of the smaller side of this market.

Considering the productivity benefits cloud-based solutions provide, it is paramount for businesses to consider their options carefully when deciding which is best suited for them.