Office 365 for Education

by Jean Tower

Live@edu is being revamped into Office 365. According to a Microsoft blog post, Office 365 for education will become more widely available this summer (2012).  Microsoft has 3 different plans (A2, A3, & A4), with A2 having the fewest features. A2 is what Microsoft will offer free to schools. An earlier announcement had said that the cost was going to be $6/staff/month. I think that they recognized that to compete with Google Apps for Education, they would have to offer a free configuration. Of course, they tout their apps as “better” —

“K-12 institutions have a very specific set of requirements for cloud-based messaging and collaboration solutions. No one brings a richer set of free hosted solutions to the K-12 space than Microsoft Live@edu.” (source)

In 2010, Google Apps for Education had already surpassed 10 million users. It is interesting to watch this competition. Just recently (April 2012) Microsoft scored a contract in India to supply Office 365 to 7 million students and 500,000 faculty members.

In my own district, we use both Google Apps for Education and Office (desktop, installed) and people move back and forth between them without issue. I wonder what we’ll be doing just a couple years from now.

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