Microsoft Launches Office 365 for Education, Readies Live@edu Migrations

Office 365 hit its one-year anniversary on Wednesday, an occasion Microsoft marked by launching a free Education edition as well as announcing a schedule for Live@edu migrations starting this summer.

Office 365 is Microsoft's cloud-based productivity and collaboration platform. The Education edition, identical to the commercial version, is being offered at no cost to schools, colleges and universities, effectively covering use by teachers, students and administrators.

"This is a huge opportunity because we're providing a level of service to schools for free that only our corporate accounts have been able to enjoy so far," said Cameron Evans, chief technology officer for Microsoft Education. He spoke at the ISTE 2012 conference in San Diego this week.

Office 365 for Education has Live@edu hosted e-mail features, along with hosted solutions such as the Microsoft Office apps, Lync Online, SharePoint Online and Exchange Online. It also includes Microsoft's Office Web apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

Additional details can be found on Microsoft's education site or the Office 365 for Education portal.

Migration from Live@edu
This summer will begin the start of migrations from Live@edu, Microsoft's previous hosted collaboration suite for education. Schools will have a migration buffer of about 18 months to allow IT staff to prepare for the move.

Anthony Salcito, vice president for Microsoft Education, and Evans said the move would be essentially invisible to end users. On the IT side of the migration, there are some technical considerations, including conversion of domains from Live@edu and issues related to identity management. Complete details about technical issues can be found on Microsoft's Office 365 upgrade page.

At the ISTE 2012 conference in San Diego this week, Cameron Evans, Microsoft Education's chief technology officer, discussed the role of IT in migrating to Office 365.

More Customers, Greater Language Support
Microsoft also shined a spotlight on the growing ranks of Office 365 customers, though it remained mum on actual revenue figures. In its press release Wednesday, Microsoft announced that in addition to its recent contracts with the Catholic International Education Office and the All India Council for Technical Education, three major U.S. universities are adopting Office 365 for Education: Dartmouth College, Gonzaga University and Cornell University.

"In total, these new customers demonstrate that over 12.5 million more students worldwide will now have Office 365 for education," Microsoft said.

In terms of commercial users, Microsoft announced seven more companies have signed on to Office 365: Burger King, Lowe's, Hallmark Cards, Japan Airlines, Australia-based energy company Origin Energy, Liechtenstein-based construction industry supplier Hilti Group and Brazil-based department store chain Renner.

Finally, Microsoft announced it is making Office 365 available in an additional 46 countries (bringing the total to 88) and 11 languages (bringing the total to 32).

About the Authors

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.


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